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Last week the Mahaney clan was blessed with the exciting arrival of Elena Hope Pyle, granddaughter to CJ’s sister Sharon, and son of our nephew JD and his wife Cheryl. This makes—if I’m counting correctly—20 great-grandchildren for CJ’s mom, with several more on the way! We are so grateful that God kept mommy and baby safe and we thought you’d enjoy hearing about Elena’s exciting birth, as told by her grandma, Sharon.
Congratulations JD and Cheryl! With love, Aunt Carolyn
Elena Hope was born on earthquake day. She came in dramatic fashion about 3 weeks early. Cheryl was putting on her makeup at her mom’s house. She had spent the night there because her sister was going to babysit Isabelle while Cheryl went for her doctor’s appointment. She had been having what she thought were Braxton-Hicks contractions, but suddenly she felt what she called “the worst menstrual cramp ever” which made her drop to her knees. She called for her sister and her mom, who threw a blanket down on the bathroom floor and called 911 at 9:13 a.m. At 9:15 a.m. the baby basically fell out! Would that we all could have had 2 minute labors! Her sister Claudine somehow knew what to do. She had her last child 7 months ago, and she said she “ironically” had taken a class on medical assistance. Anyway, she had an unused syringe she used to suction the mucous and used a shoelace to tie off the placenta. In God’s mercy, kindness, and faithfulness, mom and baby are both great. Poor J.D. was an hour away and thought his mother-in-law was joking when she called to say the baby had arrived. He knew it wasn’t a joke when he heard the baby crying! No less than 8 paramedics arrived 6 minutes later in 3 ambulances and a fire truck, not a woman among them! There was Cheryl in her pretty, long dress and beautifully done hair and makeup holding her baby! She weighed about 5 lbs. and is about 18 inches long, although now she is in the 4’s, a little peanut. Later that day J.D. sent a picture and texted, “Elena was born and the earth shook.” They came home yesterday and all are doing well, praise the Lord! I told Stacey (due Sept. 16) and Stephanie (due Dec. 12) they had better not try that trick at my house. Midwifery is not on my resume!
“By faith we will slip our cable for another day’s cruise, and sail forth with Jesus into a sea of tribulation. Winds and waves will not spare us, but they all obey Him; and, therefore, whatever squalls may occur without, faith shall feel a blessed calm within. He is ever in the centre of the weather-beaten company: let us rejoice in Him. His vessel has reached the haven, and so shall ours.” ~Charles Spurgeon
As we sign off this weekend, Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the east coast of the United States. Several hurricane seasons ago, Dr. Albert Mohler answered the critical questions “Why would God allow hurricanes?” and “How should we pray?. His comments are encouraging and instructive:
“Perhaps we should pray as Jesus taught us, praying that the Father’s will would be done, that all persons would be spared harm, and that Christians would respond in the aftermath of disaster with a clear Christian witness of care, assistance, and witness. We should pray that any ‘natural’ disaster would be an opportunity for Christian witness to the supernatural Gospel, and for Christian reflection on the beauty of the Savior.”
Amen. May God’s will be done and His mercy be upon all those in the path of Hurricane Irene.
Nicole for Carolyn, Kristin, and Janelle
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.” Psalms 46:1-5
You’ve gotta read this latest article by Rachel Jankovic on motherhood. Excellent!
Mothering is a job that is full of difficult moments. Diapers blow out in stores when you have too much in your cart to just walk out. Sudden carsickness can leave you pulled over on the side of the road wondering just how much can be done with half a bag of wet wipes. You need to take what you believe and apply it to these difficult moments. Does the Bible teach us that God is disgusted by our frailty? That he doesn’t want to carry our burdens? That he doesn’t have the energy to deal with us?
The good news is, you don’t need to have been through some elite mother’s training camp to apply the gospel in your life. You need to believe. Trust God, give thanks. Laugh. Believe — and that will feed your children. Rest in God, and your children will learn to. Extend God’s kindness to you, to them. Forgive them the way God forgave you. You have everything you need to spiritually nourish your children, because you have Christ.
After our little earthquake yesterday, a friend from Arizona texted me:
“As if your world needed anymore shaking! Are you OK?”
When I assured her that we were all fine, she replied…
“Good to be secure on the rock of Christ!...He is the only solid ground. Love you!”
Sovereign Grace Kids Worship Songbook Volume 1- a collection of every kids song they’ve published from 2004 to 2011
The Dragon’s Tooth - a new book in a new series for young people by N.D. Wilson. My husband and son are enjoying book two of his previous series, 100 Cupboards
Rejoicing in God’s Good Design - “A Study for Youth on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” from Desiring God
For many of you reading this blog, you are headed “Back to School” soon. Whether a private or public school, high school, college, or university—you may find yourself surrounded by those who do not believe in or love the Savior.
You may be tempted to join the party scene (rebelliously indulge your sinful desires, James 1:14-15), to downplay your faith (hide it under a basket, Matt. 5:14-16), to keep an open mind (question the only eternal truth, 1 John 1:1-4), or to chase your dreams (pursue selfish ambitions, James 3:13-18) instead of running after God’s commands.
As you consider these potential temptations, you may feel weak, unable to stand, desperate for God’s help. Good. If so, may the words of the Lord to Joshua encourage you today: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
—from the archives
For the girls,
We wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for the countless messages of support, encouragement, and prayers we have received these past few months. You will never know this side of heaven just how much you have blessed us by your kindness. We thank God for you. Today we are also thankful for the biblical perspective Tim Challies shared on his blog. In the days ahead we look forward to telling you about the many ways we are experiencing the steadfast love of the Lord in the midst of this trial. God is doing a gracious work in Sovereign Grace Ministries and we look forward to seeing His good plan unfold.
Your grateful friends,
Carolyn, Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word’” Luke 1:38
“Can you say: ‘Let the Holy Spirit do with me as he pleases’? Do you trust the Spirit enough to say: ‘I am your slave; take me; use your omnipotent power to put me where you want me, when you want me there, doing what you want me to do’? Do you know why we can entrust ourselves to the Holy Spirit? Because he exists to exalt the glory of Jesus Christ. Therefore, if the heartbeat of your life is the glory of Jesus Christ, the Spirit will empower and help you with all his might. Let’s live and speak so that men and women might know that Jesus Christ is a great Savior, the Son of the Most High, and the never-ending King of kings. That’s the passion of the Holy Spirit. To be full of that is to be full of him.” ~John Piper
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
This verse has always puzzled me: should I really suspect my dinner guests of being angels in disguise? And do I have to entertain them unawares?
If a heavenly being who spends eternal days worshiping in the presence of the Holy God is coming to dinner, I’d like to know. I don’t want them tripping over the toy helicopter the hallway or eating undercooked Chicken Kiev.
I used to play my own little version of “Who’s the Angel?”, studying the strangers who come to my house. (It’s easy to rule out the people you know—they couldn’t possibly be angels!) But is it the missionary or maybe the visitor from another country? Or do angels come disguised as the hyper toddler who bangs the piano and tracks crumbs on my carpet?
But the author of Hebrews “was not promoting hospitality on the chance that one might ‘luck out’ and get an angel” explains Kent Hughes. Our prospects are no less exciting, though: “He is assuring [us] that some of [our] visitors will prove to be true messengers of God to [us], bringing a greater blessing than they receive” (F.F. Bruce).
So often we focus on the work it takes to invite, prepare, and serve others through hospitality, and we forget to look for God at work! But our gracious Savior delights to send an extravagant “hostess gift”: His messengers!
Think about it: how many times have you been encouraged in your faith or inspired to grow in godliness by one of your guests? How often have you experienced sweet fellowship or hearty laughter or comfort and care in trial? Have you ever see the power of God at work in someone’s life or experienced His provision for you as the result of hospitality? I know I have, many times.
“Hospitality often results in unexpected blessing and reward,” Alexander Strauch reminds us. So let us not neglect hospitality, my friends, but be eager to extend God’s love to others. We never know what blessing God has in store for us!
—from the archives