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The Queen

Originally uploaded by atimetodye

Esther 1: 11-15,19 “He commanded them…to bring Queen Vashti before the king, wearing her royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people and the officials, for she was beautiful to behold. But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, and his anger burned within him. The king said “What shall we do to Queen Vashti, according to law, because she did not obey the command of King Ahasuerus brought to her by the eunuchs?” The eunuch replied, “If it pleases the king, let a royal decree go out from him, and let it be recorded in the laws of the Persians and the Medes, so that it will not be altered, that Vashti shall come no more before King Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another who is better than she.”

Ruth 3: 6-13 “So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her.  And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down.  At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet!  He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”  And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.  And now it is true that I am a redeemer. … then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

I  love this title.  And such a neat story!!  So this all takes place in the book of Ruth.  It’s the beginning of the love of Ruth and Boaz, who are in the lineage of Jesus.

Basically Ruth (and if you don’t know much about Ruth, read her blog post) is looking for a way to make feed herself and her mother-in-law, when they arrive in Jerusalem again, both as widows.   She gleans (collecting leftover grain) in the fields for them to eat.  She stumbles upon Boaz’s fields, and he finds favor with her.   Boaz is a single man who is esteemed as a great and noble leader in the community. Later, when Naomi (her mother-in-law) realizes that Ruth has been working in a relative (Boaz)’s field, she decides to make this  turn into something good for their family.

I found the rest of the story at this site.

“Well, it was time to make a move. And strangely enough, in that culture it was Ruth’s move. You see, God gave another interesting law to the Jews that required a man to marry the childless widow of his dead brother. The first son born of that union would bear his brother’s name and inherit his brother’s property (Deut. 25:5-10; Lev. 25:23-28). It was called the law of the “levirate” marriage, from the Hebrew word for “brother.” If no brother was available, a more distant relative might be asked to fulfill this duty. But the widow would have to let him know that he was acceptable to be her “goel,” as they called it, her kinsman-redeemer and provider.

Naomi told Ruth exactly how to do that. Ruth listened carefully and carried out her instructions precisely. Boaz would be sleeping on the threshing floor that night to protect his grain from thieves. After he went to sleep; Ruth tiptoed in, uncovered his feet, and laid down. By this act she was requesting Boaz to become her goel. Needless to say, Boaz was somewhat startled when he rolled over in the middle of the night and realized there was a woman lying at his feet. “Who are you?” he asked. She answered, “I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative” (Ruth 3:9). Spreading his cloak over her would signify his willingness to become her protector and provider. His response was immediate: “May you be blessed of the Lord, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence” (Ruth 3:10, 11).

It is important to understand that there was nothing immoral in this episode. This procedure was the custom of the day, and the record emphasizes the purity of it. In the secluded darkness of the threshing room, Boaz could have gratified his human desires and no one but Ruth would have known. But he was a godly, moral, self-disciplined, Spirit-controlled man, and he kept his hands off. Scripture says that Ruth slept at his feet until morning (Ruth 3:14). Furthermore, Ruth had the reputation of being a woman of excellence (Ruth 3:11). She had physical drives like any other normal woman, but she learned to claim God’s grace and strength to hold those drives in check until marriage. Boaz and Ruth both knew that God’s greatest blessing in marriage would require purity before marriage. Carelessness in this area would bring guilt, loss of self-respect, and suspicion. And it could leave scars on their souls that would make their adjustment to each other in marriage most difficult.

Boaz and Ruth did it God’s way. We are not surprised to see, finally, their successful marriage. Not a great deal is actually said about their relationship with each other after the wedding, but we may assume from what we have already learned about them that their marriage was richly blessed of God. Scripture does say, “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son” (Ruth 4:13).” Ruth 4:17- They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

So God provided a way for this loyal, faithful, kind woman to become a integral part of the linege of King David, and ultimately our Lord, Jesus.  What a romance!!

Job 12:22- “He reveals mysteries from the darkness
And brings the deep darkness into light. “

“Abby’s Flower Clothes”

Big Sister, Little Girl

"Big Sister, Little Girl"

Named for a favorite character in a favorite movie

Named for her mommy (her doing)

From God We Learn How to Live

Job 13 -25 “True wisdom and real power belong to God; from him we learn how to live, and also what to live for. If he tears something down, it’s down for good; if he locks people up, they’re locked up for good. If he holds back the rain, there’s a drought; if he lets it loose, there’s a flood. Strength and success belong to God; both deceived and deceiver must answer to him. He strips experts of their vaunted credentials, exposes judges as witless fools. He divests kings of their royal garments, then ties a rag around their waists. He strips priests of their robes, and fires high officials from their jobs. He forces trusted sages to keep silence, deprives elders of their good sense and wisdom. He dumps contempt on famous people, disarms the strong and mighty. He shines a spotlight into caves of darkness, hauls deepest darkness into the noonday sun. He makes nations rise and then fall, builds up some and abandons others. He robs world leaders of their reason, and sends them off into no-man’s-land. They grope in the dark without a clue, lurching and staggering like drunks.”

I really like this passage. I believe the end times are upon us. There are many things that are happening in the world that lead me to believe that. (But all of that is another post.) One thing that gives me comfort is that God is in charge of it all. He IS sovereign, and he IS the one who allows things to happen- all for His glory. The leaders of nations, the falling of nations- He is in control. And I can trust Him. And I’m so glad for that. 🙂

This series is a new series. I’m calling it “Emory’s Mysteries” because Emory is the one dyeing these. As she has watched her mama run a business dyeing yarn, she often wants to help. Sometimes I let her. Each of these colorways will be one of a kind, as there is no way to really replicate her work. lol
Emory at 18 months, with Abby

Emory at 18 months, with Abby

This first one is called “Abby’s Flower Clothes.” She named it after her beloved doll, Abby. As a small child, she took the doll everywhere. She slept with her, and loved her. One day, she realized that the clothes could come off. After that, Emory rarely slept with Abby, but only wanted her flower clothes. And that is all she still sleeps with. Do you know how hard it is to find a nine-inch doll’s clothes when a toddler misplaces them? But somehow, we have managed to keep up with them, over the course of 4.5 years. They are tattered and have holes in them. But, they are well loved!!

Emory (at 3 years old) sleeping with her beloved “Abby’s flower clothes”

And she and her sister taken at 6 years and 4 years old.

Luke 2: 8-12,16-19 “That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!”They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.

Mark 10:13-16 “And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. “

A guest blog spot by my friend, Stephanie of Three Boy Mama, who requested this colorway for her new precious baby.

“When Lamar offered to dye a colorway specifically for our coming babe, I was so touched! I jumped on the chance to have influence on the colors. The immediate thing that came to mind were the bookplates that I had seen growing up, in all of the classic bible storybooks. I remember one that I had that was huge; it was a big hard-backed book and had the most wonderful bible stories in it, descriptive and true to scripture. One of my favorite pictures in the book was a picture of Jesus surrounded by little children. The light around Him was just beautiful, and the children looked up adoringly at him, unafraid and trusting. I knew that I wanted the colorway for our new baby to be reminiscent of that picture.
Children are mentioned frequently in the bible; in Psalms, they are said to be a heritage from the Lord, a reward from Him (Psalm 127:3). In the book of Mark, Jesus mentions children frequently. In Mark 9:36-37, he takes a little child into his arms, saying, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me”…in other words, God Himself. But in Mark 10:14-15, verses I’ve read over and over before, I found something that struck a new chord in me. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” Jesus says. “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Wow…these are such powerful words to me. It speaks of many things; it speaks of a child-like faith and trust in the Lord, in His mercy and love for us. It also speaks of relying on Jesus like a child relies on its parents; when we were children, we were totally dependent upon our mother and father. They fed us, clothed us, comforted us when we were scared, rejoiced with us when we were happy, wept with us when we were sad. Isn’t that how we should think of Jesus, too? He is our heavenly Father; we should depend upon him for comfort, for our daily needs! He is there for us when no one else may be. He is our Savior, our Redeemer…our Father.
Thank you again, Lamar; you are a true friend and sister in Christ. May you and your family continue to be blessed!!”

Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Goodness

Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

This is the second in a nine part series on “The Fruit of the Spirit”. I’ll admit, I’ve struggled with what to write about joy. Sometimes in my life, I don’t feel like I have joy. What is joy exactly? Well, the dictionary defines it as: “the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.” and “a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated.” That’s one big emotion.

As I was sitting here lamenting on what to write, my hubby asked me to think of who was the most joyful in the Bible. Immediately, the apostle Paul popped into my head. I thought about how often he was imprisoned, yet he continually wrote about having joy in his life.

The story in Acts 16 is incredible. Acts 16:16-26

Paul and Silas in Prison

16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

The Philippian Jailer Converted

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.

Most of us won’t have to go through what Paul and Silas did.  Being beaten and then imprisoned. And what did they do while they were there?  They had a little time of praise and worship. How was this possible? Because they understood the difference in joy and happiness.

From a sermon I read on-line, “Paul understood that there is a difference between “joy” and “happiness.” A person can be happy and not have real joy. A person can have joy but not really be happy. The word “happy” comes from a root “HAP” which means “luck, chance, good fortune.” Here are some other words that come from this same root: “happen” “happening” “happenstance” “happy-go-lucky.” To remember the word “happy” just think of “happy-go-lucky.” If things “go lucky” then you can be happy! If things happen the way you want them to happen, then you can be happy.

For example, you can be happy if .  .  .  .

…it’s a nice day
…you get a real special gift for Christmas or for a birthday
…you do well on your report card
…everything is going your way

But what happens if your luck runs out? What happens if things do not happen the way you had wanted them to happen? What happens if . . . .

…the rain spoils the activity or event
…you don’t get the gift you hoped you would get
…you get poor grades on the report card
…you catch the flu
…your favorite team does not win
… your friend lets you down

Happiness depends on circumstances and happenings! If things go well, I can be happy! If things do not go well, there goes my happiness!

Joy is much different than this. JOY does not depend on circumstances, JOY depends on the LORD, and He never changes! Even though Paul’s circumstances were terrible (he was a prisoner!), he could rejoice.  We cannot always count on things happening the way we would like them to happen, but we can always count on God being God no matter what happens.”

This year, I hope to learn to be able to find joy in ALL my circumstances.  And I pray that you will too.

Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

This is the first in a nine part series on “The Fruit of the Spirit”.  Love is such an amazing word. We use it so often for so much. I love my husband.  I love to snow ski.  I love pizza.  I love watching movies at the theater.  But most of this is not really love as described and defined in the Bible.

One of the best definitions of what love is can be found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”

It only took me a short time being married to realize that love is not an easy thing to give.  It’s so easy to be selfish, or want your way.  So easy to hold a grudge and put up your guard.   But it’s supposed to be different with God’s love.

In my MOPS group, we’re reading “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George.  In Titus 2:4, it talks about “loving your children”.  On page 138, Elizabeth gave a great explanation on what that’s supposed to mean.

“…The Greek language has several words for love. Agapeo is the kind of love God has for us as His children.  He loves us inspite of our sin; He loves us unconditionally; and He loves us regardless and no matter what.  And certainly we mothers are to extend this kind of godly love to our children.

But phileo is the word God chose to convey mother-love here in Titus 2:4.  Phileo love is affectionate love, a love that cherishes its object.  It is friendship love, a love that enjoys children, a love that likes them! God calls parents to build the family on a foundation of biblical teaching, instruction, and discipline.  The home gains a heart, however, when parents not only love their children but like them as well.”

This week as I read this chapter, I was really challenged.  I’ve found myself slipping into worldly love.  Not really liking my children some days.  Really being annoyed with the little things they do.  But they’re only children.  They’re not even 2 and 4- and they do not have the Holy Spirit inside of them.  Yet, I do.  So I was convicted that I’ve got to pray to really LOVE my husband and children.  To allow God to work in me, for this type of love is so unnatural.  This year, my prayer is that you and I may learn to really love others like Christ loves us.

Psalm 139:13-16
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 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. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Inwardly Knit
10 Week Fetal picture

January is Sanctity of Human Life Month. As soon as I started this business, I knew I would be doing this colorway this month. This colorway is loosely based on some amazing pictures that were taken by Lennart Nilsson in his book “A Child Is Born”. This particular one shows a baby at 10 weeks gestation. In every state, abortion is legal for any and every reason up until 12 weeks of gestation, though over 75% of all abortions performed in the United States are performed before 10 weeks gestation.

To read more about each week of development, look at this site. It’s amazing!!

So on to my story. Everyone has skeletons in their closet, and sometimes keeping them there allows you to be trapped in shame. So this is my story of freedom.

I was 16, living in a small town- where I knew everyone and everyone knew me. My mom was THE elementary counselor at our only elementary and had been since before I started school. There’s a lot of history, but basically- while I was raised in a Christian household- I was really taught by example that it’s more important what PEOPLE think of you than what God sees in your heart.

I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, where I was raped for my 1st sexual encounter. It was a date rape type of situation, and I stayed in the relationship cause I was stupid. He was a Senior, who was crazy about sex, and I was a freshman, who lacked a lot of wisdom and confidence. I had always vowed that I’d be a virgin when I married, and after that instance, I kept thinking I could say no. I never intended to be sexually involved. But somehow I could never say no. And he “hated condoms.” Since I was in denial about our sex life, I never took birth control . So about 10 months into our relationship, I found myself pregnant.

Honestly, I never even thought about keeping it. I knew it was wrong, yet I couldn’t imagine the shame I’d bring to my family by carrying a child. My parents expected me to appear like a “good Christian” and if I was pregnant, everyone would know. I coerced my parents into taking me to have an abortion. I cried and cried. And honestly, I lost a part of me that day. And on the way home the shame began, as my dad mentioned that I NEVER needed to mention this to anyone. Like it was our little shameful secret.

And I didn’t learn from the first encounter. Approximately a year later, I found myself in the same situation. But the precedence had been set and everyone knew what we would do. My boyfriend and I broke up for good shortly after my second abortion. Really, in some ways, I was a shell of a person for all of my high school days. It was as if I had to pretend that it never really happened because I didn’t know what I would do if I had to really face it.

Fast forward to college. I went through some counseling for my rape. I came to a place where I forgave my ex-boyfriend. But I was constantly swallowed up by shame. I got involved with a Christian sorority. I grew closer to God than I ever had before. I came to a place of repentance, true repentance. I cried out to the Lord and begged for forgiveness- for my immoral relationship, for the murders I committed. I knew that the Lord forgave me. His word promises us that He does. Yet there was always something in the way. It was like this invisible barrier to every relationship I had. Still the guilt. Still the shame.

Sometimes, I’d think about who those babies would have been. But not for long. I couldn’t stand to hear about abortion or anything like that. I really renewed my position on pro-life in college, just based on the pain I’d carried and the shame I felt. Especially, when I’d read in my local paper about loving couples who were desperate to adopt. I knew I could have given that gift to someone.

And in college, there was a girl who shared her story. She was not a Christian when she got pregnant and had her abortion. She met Jesus in a personal way, and wanted to absolved of all her sins. She went through post-abortion counseling and shared her story with us. The girls in my Christian sorority who she shared with were so supportive. I was in awe of her courage to talk about it. I saw how openly these people loved her and held nothing against her. Yet, I still continued to believe that it would not be the same for me. They’d judge me, because I was a “Christian” at the time I made the decision to kill a baby. So on and on I carried the guilt and shame, though.

I married my husband right after I graduated, and when we started talking about starting a family I grew really concerned. Often, women who have had abortions have trouble carrying children in the future. Right before we were planning on trying to conceive , we really spent some time in prayer and fasting. I confessed my sin and asked the Lord to heal my uterus. I honestly believe that He did. My cycle had been wacko before this, and all of the sudden, I was regular. My oldest daughter was conceived 3 months later, on our 2nd month trying.

When I got pregnant with my second daughter, it was laid on my heart to work with the local crisis pregnancy center. But to do that, you have to go through post-abortion counseling, if you’ve ever had one. I scheduled that and I have to tell you that this experience was a life changer for me.

You see, I believe that Christ came to make me into a new creature. And that I am no longer the person I was a long time ago. And that we all make mistakes. And whether it’s killing a baby (like me) or stealing a pack of gum from a gas station, we have all sinned against God. Yet, the blood of Christ is able to cover even the greatest of sins. And in that I have freedom. I think that I was carrying around shame that I no longer had to carry.

Am I proud of what I did? NOT AT ALL. But am I forgiven in Christ? Yes. If I could go back and change it, would I? In a heartbeat! And I believe that I’ll meet my babies (who I believe are a boys) in heaven. In Christ, I have freedom from my past. And I think that God can use my past to help someone else someday.

Though I am not proud of my decision, I am so grateful for what I’ve learned through it. I can honestly say that abortion is NOT the answer. The scars that you bear are wicked and invisible. Many women can not bond with their future children, if they can ever even carry them. Many turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. I am so glad that I was spared that route. Though bearing those children during my teenage years would have certainly changed my life, I could have looked out for the rest of my life and known I had given someone a gift- the gift of a baby. Instead, I bore the shame and scars that were self-inflicted for 16 years, until I found Freedom in Christ.

To read about my process of finding forgiveness in Christ, read my blog about “East to West”.

Psalm 37:4-6 “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

Created as a custom for a special customer.  She’s such a neat gal, and I’m glad I’ve gotten to “know” her.  She and her husband have been hoping to add another member to their family for quite a while.  And recently, she found out she was expecting again.  She was so excited.  They were simply overjoyed.  Yet, the elation didn’t have a chance to last long as she ended up miscarrying.  It’s been a tough time for them.  To want a baby so bad, to become pregnant and then to lose it, all within a matter of weeks.  It can be a hard season, for sure.  Yet she’s really relying on the Lord for strength.  In fact, she had some verses that have really meant a lot to her in this time.  I will copy some of what she shared with me.

” Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

These verses are a total encouragement to me, especially at the time of my miscarriage.  They helped me to keep my focus on God’s will, rather than my own will.  People are amazed at my “recovery” after my miscarriage; but I just tell them that God has replaced my grief with an unmistakable, unbelievable peace & happiness.

Psalm 37:4-6
4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the    noonday sun.

And these verses remind me of God’s promise.  If we commit our way to the Lord, our desires become His desires.  And he will give these to us.”

God knew her desires.  He still knows them.  Though there are hard times, He can replace our sorrow with joy.  And because He loves us and desires the best for us,  when we delight in Him, He will give us our “heart’s desire.”