Friday, December 24, 2010

How do we give to someone who has everything?

We spoke of how we wish to give to Jesus more intentionally this year. Obviously, we cannot wrap a gift and place it under the tree hoping He will receive it and unwrap it. Although, I believe He could if He wanted to. So, how can we give to the "King, eternal, immortal, and invisible"?

Some quick ideas that we all can still do and I pray that we won't let the "Christmas Season" limit our time span on when we can do these things.

1- Give out cards with the Word of God to as many as you can afford.

2- Learn a homemade skill and take the time and energy to give to those who have blessed you this year.

3- Spend some time on the living room floor, or out around a bonfire and sing songs together as a family to the King of Kings. Christmas songs are great for this.

4- With all that practice on singing those Christmas carols as a family, think of someone you can bless   (whether you think you sing well or not) by going to see them and singing a few for them. So many experience sadness and loneliness during this time. The kids will bring a warmth and comfort to them, I promise you.

5- Our kids are putting on a Christmas drama for us this year. This was all their idea and we have encouraged them and made time for them to practice. They will perform it for us on Christmas day and then two more times as we meet together with family. Our prayer is that God will use the little children to encourage those who are faithful and plant seeds of the Gospel in the hearts of those who are lost without Christ.

6- Participate in the Lord's Supper together as a family.

7- Take the money that you saved from downsizing and pick out two or three ministries or a needy family and give it away.

8- If you are going to watch t.v., then try to center it on Christ. Pull out the old Christmas movies that have a story line of giving, sacrifice, worship. The Nativity Story, The Jesus movie, Veggie Tales Christmas movie, etc.... Fill your home with Christ-honoring music, even if it is only piano music with no words.

We could list numerous more things, but I know that even while reading you can come up with some on your own. Pray for God to show you how to give to Him this year and next year, and the next.

It is amazing to think that, "when we give to the least of these, we give to Him".

The Boggs Family

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"What do you want for Christmas, Mama?"

Tonight we all gathered around the living room with the Christmas tree lit and candles burning throughout. It was a peaceful setting and peace is what I was looking for. With lots of little ones it can be challenging to have everyone sit quiet for a Bible story and verse memorization and prayer.

While changing Maleah in the back of the house, Keith must have asked the kids what there favorite thing about Christmas was. I missed the answers, but walked in just as the question was being altered by one of our children to, "What is our favorite thing that we want for Christmas?" Ah, just like us to turn Christmas back into "all about me" mentality. They went around the room answering from the youngest to the oldest.

Then came my turn. "What do you really want for Christmas, Mama?" I knew what they wanted me to answer with. They wanted me to say a new dress, stuff for the kitchen, etc...Those things would be nice, but I couldn't shake the thoughts of what I feel like God has been speaking to me in the last few weeks. Maybe even the last few years.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:1-5

Santa Clause, Frosty, candy canes, Jingle Bells, gifts, gifts, gifts, debt, debt, debt (for so many), pressure, stress, busyness, feelings of loss and only memories to hold on to. Christmas parties with cakes and candy. Cantatas and the Nutcracker. Special times with family and friends. Surprises and disappointments for what was given and what was not. Holly jolly moments and moments of deep depression. Christmas miracles, perhaps only noticed during this time that something "higher" was responsible. My mind goes on and on.

As the Lord allows me to pull all of these things back, though many are fun and harmless, I realize that it is only about one thing. I have let all of the these things cloud my vision. In this dark state that I found myself in over 20 years ago and sometimes fall back in to, the light has been shining and I do not comprehend it. Because really isn't this "Christmas Season" that we get so excited about and celebrate the birth of Jesus supposed to be more than a season, but our very life lived out every day in surrender and obedience to Christ? A life lived in excitement and celebration for the one we call Savior?

"Mama.....what do you want for Christmas?"

"I want peace and simplicity. I want this time to be all about Jesus and not about us." What I didn't say, but wish that I had is that I want to give to Him this year.

"But, Mama, what do you really want?"

"That is what I really want."


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Glory in the Highest!

Now to the King
eternal, immortal, invisible,
to God who alone is wise,
be honor and glory
forever and ever.

1 Timothy 1:17

The Christmas Season is a special time of year and for me, this Christmas seems more real to me than ever. I guess it could be that I am a year older. I'm closer to 40 than I've ever been. I'll turn 38 in 2011 and as I look back through the years I am amazed at the brevity of life. Scripture is so true, my life is only a vapor (James 4:14). As I look back over my life, I see a precious wife, a full quiver of children, wonderful brothers, a sweet sister, Godly in-laws, countless friends, three precious churches that I have served, and so much more.

I also see a life stained with sin. There have been some obvious downs over 37-plus years. I have made poor financial decisions, stupid relational decisions, said hurtful things to those I love. There have been seasons in my life where I was at a guilty distance from God, choosing my way instead of His, and I have learned that there is a high cost to low living.

Trying to gain a perspective over life can be difficult. It takes time to meditate through those ups and downs. Upon reflecting and considering my worship to the King, I am arrested by the verse in 1 Timothy 1:17, Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. The first thought that comes to mind: This is the only way to live.

One of the things that the Lord has taught me of Himself this Christmas is that He is worthy of my worship. In other words, He is worthy of my entire life... all that I am and all that I have should give Him the highest honor and the highest glory. Yes, glory in the highest! The word glory is a great word crafted with such significance. The word can be used to refer to the worship of and honor of the character, the nature, and the reputation of God Himself.

Try pondering God's character, God's nature, and God's reputation for a few days as you reflect over your life. Over the last few weeks I have and I am still needing more time to reflect and meditate on such a profound privilege of worshipping this new born King. Glory in the highest! Why?

There is no one with a character more sterling than the Kings!
There is no one with a nature more supernatural than the Kings!
There is no one with a reputation more supreme than the Kings!

One song that has ministered to me the last few weeks is the song Christmas Offering. Take time over the next few days to reflect upon these words below (or better yet, see the video), I am sure you will conclude, shouting: Glory in the Highest!

At the feet of Jesus,

Christmas Offering
Over the skies of Bethlehem appeared a star
While angels sang to lowly shepherds
Three wise men seeking truth they traveled from afar
Hoping to find the child from heaven
Falling on their knees they bow before the humble Prince of Peace
The sun cannot compare to the glory of Your love
There is no shadow in Your Presence
No mortal man would dare to stand before Your throne
Before the Holy One of heaven
It's only by Your Blood and it's only through you mercy
Lord I come

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus may You receive the honor that You're due
O Lord I bring an offering to You
I bring an offering to You

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus may You receive the honor that You're due
O Lord I bring an offering to You

Friday, December 10, 2010

Meet Maleah Grace! #7

We have been patiently waiting to introduce our youngest because we knew that she would soon be turning one year old and as of 11:41 p.m. last night, she is officially 1!

Maleah is something else. She came into the world different than any of our other babies. She was due on the 11th of December and we welcomed her into the world a couple of days before that in our very own home.

I knew when we had our sixth child, Stephen, in the hospital (which was nearly a perfect experience) and had to wait approx. 25 minutes on the doctor to get there before I could begin to push his little self out, that I may want to consider a different option for the next baby.

A very reluctant husband humored my desires to find a midwife and consider an actual home birth. After an initial consultation and then follow-up visits we both really liked her and found her to be very caring and knowledgeable. After months of anticipation and some anxiety of the "unknown," we began laboring about 1:00 in the afternoon and about 10 hours later Maleah was born under water in a birthing pool set up in our bedroom! Not only was a home birth (and a waterbirth) a first for us, but this was also the first time we did not know the sex of the baby. That was a lot of fun. I will never forget.... once we turned her over after she had been laying on my chest, we saw that she was a girl! Our other four girls, who had witnessed the birth, began to jump up and down and celebrate! They ran down the hall to tell their Papa (who had teased them all along that we were having a boy) that he was wrong!

Another first for all of us was a total commitment to infant potty training with Maleah. We began taking her to the potty at a month old. She went the very first time! We do cloth diapers, so I figured whether she went or not, if we could just get her to have a bm in the potty it would be worth it. Who wants to clean that out?! It has definitely been an experience and a conversation piece for sure. Does she go in the potty? Yes, almost every time. Does she still wet her diapers? Yes, almost every time! Although barely wets most of the time. Babies go a lot!! Maybe one day I will post on the ups and downs and pros and cons of infant potty training.

Maleah was born chunky and dark. Very dark hair and skin. Actually she had a redness to her skin for a few days and looked like a little Indian baby. She stayed chunky through the next months. She went from chunky to plain fat. And, I didn't mind one lick if someone called her such. She was sweet and cuddly. So soft and huggable. She has been a pure joy. Maleah has a fun personality. She scrunches up her nose when she laughs. She will laugh out loud at something that she sees funny or just to get some attention. She gives great hugs and kisses already. Some of her words include."mama, daddy, papa, Joshua (sort of), bye, night-night, stop, no (yes, she has said this to me), Sam (our dog), Jake (one of her friends from church), and baby".

She began to take her first steps a couple of weeks ago. She began to crawl at 5 months old. This was earlier than any of our others. I much prefer the late crawlers. She was into everything soooo soon. She eats everything off the floor! One of her favorite places to play is in our boy's room. In there she can drive cars, bang blocks, take books out the box, open drawers and throw their clothes on the floor. She loves it! Although Maleah adores all her siblings, she can only handle so much of them. She is independent and wants some quick lovin' so she can be on her little way.

Maleah has changed quite a bit in her looks. She has gone from the very dark hair to a blonde. She has an unusual eye color. We are not sure yet what they will be. Kind of gray at this point with a touch of brown or is hard to tell. They may not be the same color as the rest of the children, but they are big like the rest of them. She has a golden color to her skin. A little round face that reminds us of her sister, Morgan.

We are blessed to have Maleah. She is a gift from God. There is a lot of work involved with having seven children. I once said that if you could have three, you can have ten. Well, easy to say for someone who didn't have ten! And, it really isn't true. There are obviously more mouths to feed, more bodies to clothe, more clothes to wash, more beds to make....

There are also more lives to instill godly character. There is school to be taught. There is a dying to self that must take place with me and Keith on a daily basis as we sacrifice our desires to give to them. I don't mean monetary things. I mean the giving of ourselves to them. Our time. Our attention. Our energy. Our prayers. Our sleep. Our food. Our love.

We are constantly asked if we will have more children. I believe our answer is genuine when we say that we really don't know. Whatever the Lord wills for us, is what we will have. Probably. We have experienced no trouble conceiving yet. We believe Psalm 139, where the Bible says that God's thoughts are precious to each one of our children... GREAT are the sum of them!! We look forward to learning what God already knows about each one of our children that have been fearfully and wonderfully made! Marvelous are His Works and that we know very well! Just as Hannah in the Old Testament was "visited" by the Lord and conceived Samuel, we believe that all seven of our children are a result of the fact that the Lord "visited" us and we accept his gift to us. Selfishly, we can say "no more", but we truly do want to honor the Lord and His control of this area of our lives.

So, where will these little feet go?

And, what will these little hands do?

What will these eyes see?

Our prayer for Maleah is that these feet, these hands, these eyes will be an extension of the Grace of God and will reach, teach, touch, and love just like Jesus... to the ends of the earth. Just like our other six children. Just like any the Lord may see fit to bless us with in the future.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Speaking Thanksgiving: Part 2

Yesterday we attended our senior adults Christmas party. They try to meet once a month for food, fellowship, and some sort of activity. We try to attend as many as we can. We love to fellowship with these dear people and we love to see our children interact with them. It has been a great blessing for our family. The decorations were beautiful. The food was great. Everyone looked festive in their Christmas attire. After dinner we had great music as a guest played several songs on his saxophone.

Above is a wonderful picture of our children. But, there is alot that took place in effort to make this picture. I spoke the other day of speaking thanksgiving to others and I even listed several things that I was thankful for. Shortly after sending out that post I thought about how easy it is to be thankful for all the things that makes us happy. I then began to think that the depth of my thankfulness will be tested in the difficult circumstances in my life. Although the story behind this picture is very minor in respect to all the difficulties in life, I am still thankful for what took place. I learned a lesson this day.

Lesson for me: No group pictures taken during an event that will cause possible disruption and distraction. You see, we borrowed my daddy's camera for a couple of days to take some photos for the blog and I thought since I had his camera I should take full opportunity of it. How often do all 7 children match and look this cute with such a great backdrop? It was too tempting. BUT, how difficult can it be to get all 7 children to look at the camera and smile like they are happy and love each other dearly? I know this and yet I forget....only to be reminded pretty quickly.

Not only did I catch Madison yawning, Meghan was on the brink of crying (she is done with pictures after the first shot), and Stephen had refused to pose and be a part of this memorable moment and so.....

We lose Stephen. Yes, he disappears temporarily. In this picture he has collapsed onto the floor beside his brother Joshua and so we are disrupting and distracting at this point. Picture time is done.

The first picture on this post with everyone somewhat smiling was taken after everything was over and only a few people were left. I also used a candy cane as a bribe, which I never do and it was a mistake. We had major melt down afterwards because I didn't break off a big enough piece or something and so chaos and confusion and craziness began. I learned that I put our children in a position, that if I would have thought more carefully about it I would have chosen not to, for increased possible failure.

I am also thankful that when we came home ( I had to get the attention of Keith to come and help me because the problem only escalated and I wasn't sure I could get them home by myself) we disciplined those who needed it and then Keith and I talked about the situation and decided to make some guidelines for them and to communicate with them our expectations. The very next day after our family Bible time we had a family meeting just like a coach would with his team. We talked of the previous day's situation and of our expectations for them. We not only talked with them, we practiced as if we were in a certain situation and how they needed to respond. It was Keith's idea. And, I loved it. I felt like we were working together as a team to help our children win.  

I pray that our children walked away from our meeting today feeling like they were loved and cared for and that mama and daddy really do want what is best for them . 

I am thankful.....

for stressful moments such as these that give us times to learn from our mistakes. 

for my mother who tried her best to help me calm some down, reason with others, and carry a little one  in her arms.

for others seeing that our family is just as real as the next. 

for a husband who came along my side and helped me see my error.

for a husband who lovingly corrected our children and creatively showed us all how we can do better.

for children who listened attentively. 

for humbling moments that make me realize my mothering is dependent upon a Holy God working through me.     

"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4       


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Speaking Thanksgiving

All through Psalm 145 you will see how we are encouraged to speak our praise and thanksgiving out loud to those around us. Private thanksgiving between us and the Lord is vital, but there is something that breathes life into us and others when we speak it verbally for ears to hear. And what a privilige to be able to do this with the very children that God has blessed us with.

 "One generation shall praise your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts."

As I have sought to be a woman of gratitude I can see how my words bring life or death into our home. I have an 11 year old daughter. Why have such things taken so long for me to grasp? She needed a mama of gratitude when she was a baby and a toddler and a little girl.....But, I will not be defeated, because she is still under my care and in my home, so I begin to speak life and I see life breathed into her very being. It is not too late. She begins to speak life into her little sister and her little brother. It is slow going. We are learning to undo a way of thinking. To undo a way of speaking.

"Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts and I will declare your greatness. They shall utter the memory of your great goodness and shall sing of your righteousness."

I am a blessed woman and overwhelmed at the goodness of God...

for a daddy who buys several bales of hay to take his grandchildren and grown children out for a hayride on Thanksgiving Day.

for a mother who spends endless hours stuffing a turkey and baking it to please the tastebuds of all her family.

for time spent with my younger brother and his sweet family.

for a husband who tells me that he will take a temporary leave at the head of the table to go and sit by our 2 yr. old who needs some training in table manners.

for a husband who wants us all to sit around the computer to watch a street preacher share the gospel with an unbelieving culture.

for daughters who sing while they clean the kitchen.

for daughters who race to give Maleah her first kiss after awaking from her sweet sleep.

for the eight steps our little one took in her beginning of independence.

for a little boy consumed with collecting cocoons that have "bagworms" inside of them.

for another little boy accepting a challenge of a sword fight with a stick from his older brother.

for our six year old, minutes after pulling her second tooth out, calling for her daddy to tell her again how she can be saved.

for the moments around our home that is shaping and molding us into the image of Christ, so that He can use us to reach the ends of the earth with His gospel.

"All Your works shall praise you O Lord, and Your saints shall bless you. They shall speak of the glory of kingdom and talk of your power. To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts and the glorious majesty of His kingdom."