Mary said Yes

Having worked as a doula, I have seen birth flow from many women, their lives growing rich with the intense yet special experience of the process. Just a couple weeks ago, I received a late-night text from my friend Melissa saying her water had broke and she was headed to the hospital to have her 3rd baby. I lay there excited for her and remembered just a couple years ago when I was at her side as she labored to bring her 2nd baby into the world. It was in the quiet of the birthing center halls amidst strong contractions and the artistic swaying of her body in her husband’s arms…she said “I’m thinking about Mary”. Now, I have personally birthed 3 children and not once during my labor have I thought about any other women’s pain except my own, let alone the mother of Jesus…

That young and innocent girl’s simple yes was so much bigger than she thought in that moment. Mary’s childlike heart, mind and emotions couldn’t possibly have known what she was saying “Yes” to…the encounters and experiences she alone would face as Jesus’ birth mother.

She said Yes to the judgments from her family and the condemnation of her community as she carried a baby out of wedlock. She said Yes to it all. While we chose to give birth in a comfortable setting, aromatherapies and all, Mary settles for giving birth alone without help in an uncomfortable barn filled with other unpleasantries. And what was it like to loose the Son of God or to encourage his first public miracle? When she quietly pondered things in her heart, did she continually ask the question “why did I say Yes to this?” or was there an ever-present peace in the knowing that God had chosen her to be the eternal mother of Jesus, the eternal Son?

It breaks my heart whenever I see my children sad or hurt….I can’t imagine the tension in Mary’s heart as she watched her perfect son die on a cross, knowing that this was the plan all along….and she had been chosen to bring him into the world and unto this place. What joy filled her heart the moment she first held him and then even in the moment of his death-knowing she had done what the Lord required of her.

The tiny Yes in her heart was so great. My tiny Yes would be just as great….I just have to chose to say it.

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Harper Capri Stephens is here!

Our beautiful daughter Harper Capri entered the world on Thursday, July 22 at 3:37pm weighing in at 6lbs.14oz and 19inches long. It was the most peaceful and easy labor and birth thus far. I’m so thankful to God for the amount of grace there was to birth her. Her name Harper, means harpist and she was named after the harp & bowl prayer movement we find ourselves in the very midst of as we await the return of our glorious King to earth. Capri is an Italian musical term meaning playful; we have a little worshiper! We are in love with her already. She is such a little miracle.


The Birth Story

I was admitted to the hospital at 8am on Thursday morning for my scheduled induction. My Dr broke my water and I was given an epidural to ease the pain of the Pitocin that I began around 9:30am. My first contractions began at 10:30am and were about 2-3 minutes apart lasting about 60-90 seconds each. I was about 4-5cm at 11am. I slept in between each contraction and was fighting waves of nauseousness. Within a few hours, I was fully dilated and feeling pressure to begin pushing. I pushed just 2 times and she was born at 3:37. I didn’t tear or have any complications with bleeding this time around. This was the most peaceful and graced birth yet. I was very blessed to have my Husband and Mom with me the entire labor and delivery. My bigger girls Emerson (3) and Finley (2) joined me at the hospital just a couple hours later to meet their new sister. They were ecstatic!

Such precious moments…

Finley Briel turns 2

2 years ago tonight, I gave birth after a fast labor and delivery to a beautiful little girl-Finley Briel measuring in at 7lbs, 3.9oz and 20 inches long. She was 10 days late and very much anticipated! Its crazy to think my “little one” who I still find myself calling Baby,is 2 years old. What a wonderful gift Finley is to our family. She is such a huge delight. She is a whole lot of personality wrapped up in a little body. Everyone who meets her, says she is adorable-and I wholeheartedly agree. How could I not? She is my pride and joy….and she is also the one to keeps me in the place of prayer; always giving me a “run for the money”. I love her deeply and am so grateful for her little life.

I know the Lord has many plans for Finley and I pray I can be faithful with the short stewardship of her life. Her name means fair-haired warrior and what a little fighter she is! But what a lover too. And her eyes hold such depth, that I often wonder what she really sees and hears. Finley often talks of the Holy Spirit and Angels she sees in her room at night. God, grant her revelation!

Me & Baby #3

This is momma and baby at 21 weeks!
Its another girl. I’m due July 28. We’re super excited.

Emerson Kate is 3

It seems like yesterday that there was the excitement and expectation of a new baby. And not only a new baby, but my first baby. For years I had dreamed of motherhood and what it would be like and how great it would feel to grow a baby inside my womb, experience the painful moments of life, and then nurture it to adulthood. Well, having been a mom now for 3 years, life with little ones has me much. Motherhood has been all I thought I would be and everything I thought it wouldn’t be as well….both in the best ways. I think I get saved every day being a mother, being so face-to-face with my weak humanity. I love it. What a wonderful way for me to meet the Lord, know the Lord and grow in the Lord.

Emerson Kate entered the world on February 1, 2008 and what a joy she has been! She has the most exuberant love for life. Her name means strong leader, and this is truly what she is, even at a young age. Her sister Finley, loves to follow her and do exactly what her big sister does. Emerson loves to listen and be taught new things…her excitement and passion for the little things make me truly appreciate life too. She has taught me so much and I’m so thankful for her little life. While in the womb, she received a prophetic word of carrying a “Katherine Kuhlman” anointing, a healing anointing….and every day her little heart grows in compassion for the hurts of others. Emerson is my prophetic singer too-if asked to pray for something/someone, she sings over them. I’m so grateful for the things the Lord is doing in her heart, and mine as we grow in life together.

Happy Birthday Emme Kate!


Reflecting an Old & New Year

I find the ending of a year is one that is filled with reflection and introspection; its a time to look back at the year that was and look forward to the new year yet to come. It seems that in some aspects 2009 passed by so quickly and in others so slowly. What is true is that the time passes by imperceptibly, changing like the seasons. At the same time we are preparing for the transition into a new year, a year filled with potential, with hope and inevitably as always with change. Writer Kathleen R. Fischer reminds that in order to change we have to be willing to let go and even die a little to move forward.

At every point in the human journey we find that we have to let go in order to move forward; and letting go means dying a little. In the process we are being created anew, awakened afresh to the source of our being

We need to be able to let go of the old in order to embrace the new.

Psychologist Catherine Sanders proposed three questions for people that help in managing the transition to a new year (life).

1. What do you want to take from your old life (year) into your new one?

2. What do you want to leave behind?

3. What do you need to add?

I ask myself all these questions among others to better myself for the coming year and all it holds. There is so much hope in the “newness” of a new year, new expectations and goals, new life skills, new growth. In my reflection of 2009, I have chosen to overlook my struggles, unwanted changes, or times of discouragement and focus of the ever-present Holy Spirit who has faithfully walked beside me the entire year. Although I may have not felt Him in every moment and may have even doubted sometimes-I focus on Him. I focus on the indwelling God who guides and shapes my walk of life by the minute, daily, & yearly.

Holy Spirit, guide me into all truth this year. Amen.

Mysterious Need

Salvation is a great mystery. We know the commandments of Christ, and our weakness both in keeping those commandments faithfully, as well as our weakness before temptation in almost any form. How do we get from here to there?

This is indeed the great mystery. Jesus is the answer. By his death and resurrection, he made for all a path to salvation and there is no salvation outside of him. Salvation, is by definition, union with Christ. Its an inner transformation in which we are united with God, and through him and the work of grace are changed into the fullness of what we are created to be.

But again, the path from here to there is somewhat a mystery. We do not know what is needed, moment by moment for our salvation other than saying we need Jesus. How we need him is the mystery…

Being a Little Sneaky

My kids have always been pretty good about eating what is placed in front of them….from buttered spinach to to sautéed eggplant to raw bell peppers. But recently I have been trying to introduce different flavors and textures. With all the sickness going around, I have been vigilant in making sure my family is pumped with vitamins and getting healthy meals and rest.

So this past week I tried making ordinary and familiar meals with seasonal vegetables. So far I’ve tried homemade macaroni and cheese with winter squash mixed in and parmesan risotto with butternut squash….the result was great- My husband said “mmmm creamy” 🙂 I even made vegetarian cheese quesadillas with a puree of seasonal veggies.

So, my healthy additions to meals has been working and thankfully, my family is staying healthy thru this crazy sick season.

Any more healthy and creative ideas?

The Past Few Months

Phewww…..This summer has brought along so many changes and transitions for me. I am hoping to start blogging again regularly.

Summer Review:
We had a wonderful and eventful summer, along with the daily routine of work, ministry and family, there were also some key highlights.

June:
*10-day Ministry Trip to Los Angeles where we ministered in Korean Church
*Family Vacation to Beach & Disneyland
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July:
7-days in Wisconsin, ministering at a Youth Camp; the whole family went and we loved it!!

August:
*Meet with Murray & Deborah Heibert about moving to Colorado Springs for The Wall
*Much prayer & fasting on direction from the Lord

September:
*Family trip to Colorado Springs to explore the promptings of the Holy Spirit
*Conference in Denton, TX
*My childhood best friend got married, so I spent a week with her in Chicago for her big day. I cried the whole ceremony (I can’t imagine what I will be like at a sister or daughter’s wedding!).
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October:

*We moved to Colorado Springs to become a part of The Wall house of prayer at Every Home for Christ
*Michael leaves for 2wks in South Korea (miss him so much)
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I am settling in to my new life in COS and excited to have Michael home soon.

Michael’s Surprise!

downsized_0825091108Its a hot August day, I have 2 tired toddlers, and I’m trying to decide whether to have a gourmet meal on the table for my husband or just “keep my kids alive” as they climb and wrestle through every moment of their day. I deeply desire to be the best wife and mother I can be, in this season I am in…and then Michael surprises me with princess-cut diamond earrings from Jared’s! I have the best husband on the world! And not just because of diamonds, but because he is the most loyal & dedicated man. I am never in need of a prayer or word of edification when he is around. I am so blessed by his continual washing of my with the Word. I am so honored to be his wife and the mother of his children.
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