In this post: Mother’s day crafts, Leeland’s miracle story, and his dedication at church.
Hello dear ones! I shared our miracle testimony at church on Mother’s Day. Leeland was also dedicated during the service. First I’m going to show you what the boys made for Mother’s day and then I’ll post our testimony (text only. I’m unable to show the video at this time). Up above are the boys hands. I copied them with the printer. One pic has my hand too.
Michael made this ice cream paper that says: My Mom is loving, helping, feeding.
Flower prints for grandmas~ I used Michael’s hand prints and Leeland’s foot prints to make flowers for Nana (my mom) and Granny (Chris’ mom). Then we gave them pictures of the boys in their Easter best.
Our chalkboard door comes in handy during the holidays.
Chris’ parents finally got to meet Leeland. He is their 6th grandson.
We dedicated Leeland at church…meaning we made a verbal commitment to raise Leeland to follow Jesus and the Bible.
We were given a certificate and special books. We’re still waiting on his first Bible.
Here’s the testimony I shared. It was great how God used it because I had people come up after and say how it encouraged them. One lady took a copy of this story to give her infertile daughter in law. I was asked to share during Sunday school too. I pray it blesses you as well.
“Hello, my name is Amber Dover.
James 1:17 says “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
I’ve come to remind you that Father God is faithful and His timing is perfect. I pray my story encourages you.
My husband and I planned on having more children right after Michael, our eldest, was born. That was nine years ago. We tried year after year without success. Then our hearts broke about five years ago when we were told that we were both infertile and that we had three months to get pregnant or it’d never happen. We tried many things…fertility treatments that left me feeling sick, all sorts of natural remedies, and we even tried to adopt twins but the birth mother miscarried.
At first I grew very bitter. I longed for a second child more than anything. I bought baby clothes though I knew there would be no baby. I cried out to God but I felt he didn’t hear me. It felt like we were hitting a brick wall with every step we took. I eventually gave up trying because I was tired of wrestling with God. I came to the conclusion that only God could open or close my womb and that nothing I did would succeed unless God wanted it to. I was sick of negative pregnancy tests and getting my hopes up for nothing.
Fast forward to last year around this time. I’m finally content and settled. My husband tells me he wants to try for another child as soon as I get back from the missions trip to Belize. I’m here to tell you that God is faithful even when we are faithless. I agreed to try for another child but I told my husband not to get his hopes up. I knew it’d take a miracle for us to get pregnant and frankly I didn’t believe it was in God’s plans. I didn’t have much faith but I chose to pray like I did. I asked our Sunday school class here at church, to pray for us to have a miracle. This was not the first time I had asked a church for prayers in this matter. People had prayed for us on and off for 8 years. Again I tell you, that God’s timing is perfect.
Two months after returning from Belize, I became pregnant. It took awhile for me to believe it was true, but nine years later we have Leeland, our youngest son. He was worth the wait. Our family was reminded through this miracle that God is sovereign. He is the best parent and He loves to give good gifts. God heard my cry all of those years, just as He heard the cries of Sarah, Elizabeth, and Hannah in the Bible. God opens and closes the womb. He is just as much in control now as He was back in Bible days. I don’t know the state of your heart this Mother’s Day. Maybe you’re praying for a miracle. Maybe you feel alone and you think God doesn’t hear your cry. Dear one, your God hears you. He feels your pain. I don’t know God’s exact plan for your life, but I do know that if you belong to Jesus that He will work things out to the good. Satan has told humanity the same old lie since the garden of Eden, the lie that God is holding out on us. Dear one, God is not holding out on you. Jesus loves you and He has blessed you with all spiritual blessings. I end with theses verses from Ephesians.
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to the Father who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover
My natural labor story about how God’s timing is perfect. Nothing is impossible with Jesus! Let’s go back a lil over three weeks ago.
Where do I begin? Hmmmm…
Labor. Expectations and reality. I wasn’t scared about labor, surprisingly. After years of infertility and then God’s blessing of a miraculous pregnancy, you’d think that I’d cherish being pregnant. I thought I would. But I was miserable. I just wanted to have the baby. I was sick of false labor and feeling icky all the time. Plus, I didn’t feel an immediate bond with Leeland while I was pregnant. My husband was smitten with the baby in my womb. I just wanted to cry all the time. Physically and emotionally I was struggling. Labor and delivery was my salvation. I longed to go to the other side of the hospital…that beautiful place where women went in with huge bellies and came out in wheelchairs holding lil bundles of joy. That was my Emerald City…
When I hit 37 weeks (full term these days), I was ready for an early delivery. I ate weird foods and tried strange things to go into labor. I begged and prayed for God to bring the baby during spring break. I prayed for my water to break. I wasn’t worried about natural labor so much. I was more concerned with how I’d bond with Leeland once he was born and how I could parent two kids. The thought of cloth diapering and caring for a newborn overwhelmed me. Would I remember how to do it? There’s nine years between my boys. Would it be like riding a bike?
38 and a half weeks. I drug myself to the appointment with my midwife, Nicole. I was miserable and she could tell. The false labor had dilated me some but still no baby. It seemed like the baby would never come. Leeland was already bigger than Michael and I began to wonder if I could push out a bigger baby…without pain meds. I couldn’t sleep at night and Leeland’s head had been so low for so long, that walking was difficult and I spent most of my time in the bathroom. Did God care about my prayers? I felt like He wasn’t listening to me.
I cried out to God, in my head. That morning in my devotions I had read Romans 8:28 in the Amplified version. I hoped that it was a sign. Indeed it was one of many that day. God was speaking but I wasn’t fully aware until after.
“We are assured and know that [[a]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” (emphasis mine)
God had heard me all along. He was waiting for the perfect timing. I felt encouraged when Nicole told me that I had dilated more and my waters were bulging during contractions. She told me to go walking to bring on labor. That was 10:30 Thursday morning. I was on a mission. Chris took off from his classes, we grabbed lunch, and went straight to the park. I walked a path of flowers for two hours. Michael walked with me some. We took a break in between to give Michael (our oldest) to my friend Carrie. Praise God it wasn’t spring break, because Carrie was out of town that week and we had no backup plan for Michael.
Mom got off work and met us at the park (another God thing: Mom was off work). Her and Chris watched me walk. I had my mp3 player on. “Almost There” from The Princess and the Frog came on. Another sign but I wasn’t sure. I took my shoes off. The contractions still felt like Braxton Hicks, but they were coming more frequently. I wasn’t in pain. I just felt miserable and exhausted. “Miles and miles in my bare feet”…a song by the Civil Wars played as I decided to walk in the grass. People stared. A woman pointed to the flowers and said my baby would like them. So I picked some flowers for a keepsake.
After two hours, I was sad that my water had not broken (I’m glad it didn’t now). I had no clue if the contractions were doing anything. It had started to rain. We decided to drive to the hospital and see if labor and delivery would check me. I talked to a nurse and explained. They told me to come on in. I worried that I didn’t look like I was in pain and they’d send me home. Mom said I looked miserable to her. I was dilated to about a 4 and I wasn’t hurting. I had only gotten to a 3 with Michael and that put me in tears. I thought that maybe my pain tolerance had went up significantly. Yeah, little did I know!
I was sad when I found out that I had not dilated any further. I was scared they’d send me home. But I was contracting a lot (which was the norm during my third trimester anyways). The midwife decided to moniter me and then have me walk another hour. Yes…ANOTHER hour. I laid on my back to be monitered and it started to hurt. I cried a bit. I did not hurt so much when I was standing. My mom and hubby walked with me. I was super tired and at times the contractions stopped me in my tracks.
I called my doula/ best friend, Hannah, and she prepared to come if they checked me in. Nicole came in and checked me. I had dilated to a lil over 4. She decided to check me in to the hospital. I praised God that the midwife wasn’t sending me home. My mom got out a list of encouraging scriptures that I had written for labor. She read them to me when I was being monitered and hurting from lying on my back. I walked around the room and got on a birthing ball. I told the nurses and the midwife about the miracle of Leeland, how I was told I couldn’t have more kids. God was glorified and that makes me happy. Hannah had already arrived and she brought a box of coffee for Mom and Chris. What a blessing she was.
The contractions were getting stronger. I talked in between them. It was nice to sit on the birthing ball. It was after nine pm and I had not dilated any further. My midwife was frank with me. I could be there laboring all night and exhausting myself, or they could break my water and see if I’d progress. I was nervous. I didn’t want any interventions and I was scared of opening the doors for complications and a c-section. Once again God’s sovereign hand was in my labor. I asked Nicole and the nurse to step out so I could pray with my support team (Chris, Mom, and Hannah). Hannah prayed. There was a peace in the room but I was still scared of the pain to come and the unknown. My water had been broken with Michael but only after receiving an epidural. Hannah and Nicole let me know that I could use low doses of pain meds to take the edge off if I needed it. The thought was comforting, and I agreed to have my water broken.
I got in the bed so they could break my water. Nicole assured me that this was the least painful part. As the fluid gushed I remembered one of the verses Mom had read. It said God would be with me through the waters. I rolled to my side so the contractions wouldn’t hurt as bad. Then I began to get sick and to throw up. The contractions started to become very strong and painful. It hit me that my pain tolerance was not that great. The real deal had started. The contractions before were nothing compared to these. I could not see these as birthing embraces or waves. I had told the nurse that I was calling contractions “intense” not “painful”. Yeah, that went out the door. These hurt. As I threw up more fluid gushed out. I got scared and I worried about Leeland in there without fluid. Nicole told me that Leeland was doing great. I could hear his strong heart beat.
I started to wimper and tense up. My support team surrounded me. I started to cry out and everyone began telling me to breathe. Nicole kept telling me to relax my forehead. I tried to focus on their voices instead of the pain. I could still talk in between contractions. I asked Nicole what came next and how we’d know I was progressing. She calmly said that my “demeanor” would change as I transitioned into the last stage of labor. Yeah, I’m glad she didn’t explain any further. You’ll see why. Anywho, Hannah encouraged me to visualize to get my focus off the pain. I could barely think of what to visualize. I was not doing well on my own and the online birthing classes weren’t doing much good. I praise God that I had cheerleaders there to tell me how to breathe and think, because I was not able to think much on my own. I did manage to visualize my son Michael saying “I love you Mommy”. I could barely hold on to that image but I tried very hard to focus on it. I also focused on the voices around me. At that point I was able to get through the contractions and rest in between. My midwife left to go to the bathroom and get something to eat. Chris held my hand, Hannah sat beside him, and my mom was on the other side. Nicole had not been gone long when it happened…my “demeanor” changed.
Transition. I could no longer visualize. All I could do was scream. I had never imagined such pain. My vision went blurry. I was in another world. I could hear them telling me to calm down…to breathe. But I couldn’t focus anymore. My insides were moving…convulsing…pushing. There was no thought of medication. There was no time for that. This was happening and nothing could stop it.
I sounded like a banchee. I had never heard such an animalistic cry come from my throat. It was raw. It terrified my husband. It would’ve been bad if my son was in the room. Again, praise God that Carrie wasn’t out of town. I squeezed Chris’ hand as if to break it. I cried out “I can’t breathe!” I screamed “I think I’m pushing something”. And God was there. Hannah knew from her own natural labor experience that I had transitioned. She called the nurse frantically and told them that she thought I had transitioned and was pushing. She said my “demeanor” had changed. I screamed really loud and the nurses could hear me. My midwife Nicole rushed from the bathroom and a whole bunch of people hurried into the room.
The next thing I knew, they were pulling my legs apart and sliding me down the bed. My midwife was shocked that I had already transitioned. She could see Leeland’s head. All of these people (several nurses I didn’t know) were telling me to push. My body kept convulsing and it was like an alien was inside. It was an unworldly experience. I was worried that I’d curse during labor and ruin my witness. That wasn’t a problem. I could only manage to cry out to God and I kept saying “God” and Jesus” and “Help me”. I could hear Hannah saying “He is here. He’s with you. You’re doing it. You’re having your natural birth!” My husband was silent but he held my hand still. My mom kept repeating what the midwife had said before “breathe Amber. Relax your forehead.”
I kept screaming and pushing back on the bed. Then the strangers started fussing at me. They couldn’t safely get the baby if I was lifting my bottom off the bed and pushing away. They told me to hold my legs and push.I kept wondering why they couldn’t hold my legs for me. Why were they so upset at me? Why were they telling me to calm down and to stop screaming? Didn’t they know I was in pain! Then Nicole said something that helped. She told me to take all the energy I had from screaming and put it into pushing…to focus…that I was going to have this baby. And somehow I grasped onto her words. Despite the pain, I began to channel my screaming into pushing. And then…
The ring of fire I had heard about. It’s real. The baby’s head crowning…coming through the birth canal…ready to come out. It got stuck there for a moment as I rested. It WAS like fire. The verse came to my mind…that God would be with me through the fire. Leeland’s head came out and I heard everyone talking about it. Labor really was work (pun intended)! Surely, I was done. He was here. But no I was not done. They told me on the next contraction to push out his shoulders. I couldn’t believe there was more. I was tired. I didn’t have any more to give. Jesus is our strength during weakness. One more push and I felt Leeland come out. I actually felt him. I had not felt Michael much because of the epidural. The feeling was a rush of relief. It was like a sigh…a cool breeze in a sweltering desert. And then they put his little body on top of mine. And we bonded. I fell in love completely. No more fears. This was my child. I had went through fire for him. I’d die for him. I had survived. I was in awe. My body actually reached that threshold of pain and I survived. I knew instantly it was all God. He had carried me through. I was weak but Christ was my strength.
Every birth story is different. Many women say that natural birth leaves you feeling like super woman…like you can conquer the world. I did not personally feel this way. Immediately afterwards I flinched as the midwife massaged my uterus. I still cringe at needles. I was not stronger. I still felt weak. Instead, I knew that my God can do anything. I knew that God had never left me. He was there all along orchestrating every step. The God who created the stars, had knit my baby inside my womb. He had delayed my labor until I was in the hospital where I felt safe. His timing is perfect.
It was a blessing that my water had not broken at the park or at home as I tried to naturally induce labor. Here’s why: I delivered only an hour after my water was broken. Everyone was surprised by how fast it went. Had I been anywhere else when my water broke then I would not have made it to the hospital in time and I would not have had my support team to get me through. God used my team (Mom, Chris, Hannah, & Nicole) to help me labor. They never once offered an epidural or acted like I couldn’t handle a natural birth. I held on to their voices for strength.
Leeland was born at 10:47 PM, about 12 hours since my prenatal appointment that morning. Hannah had time to go home and breastfeed her own baby. Mom was able to go home and get decent sleep before work the next day. Leeland was 7 lbs and 1 oz. He was 19 and a half inches long. I was able to breastfeed right away and it almost brought tears to my eyes. God causes the barren womb to rejoice. He brings life where there was death. Miraculous!
Leeland was swollen from birth. He slimmed down a lot later.
Mom held Leeland then had to leave. Poor kid looks like he was in a fight.
Well, I looked like I had been in a fight too. Compare the after pic of this birth compared to my medicated birth with Michael. I recovered faster though than I did with the medicated birth. Also I didn’t tear where most women tear. I only needed three stitches but in a different spot. I was given an episiotomy with Michael but not with Leeland. I had a lot more energy after my unmedicated birth. So although I look rough, it was better later.
Hannah was awesome and ran to Krystals to buy me a meal. I savored french fries and being able to drink Coke again! 🙂 Hannah thought that was funny. Hence the picture of me eating fries. I am so thankful for my “doula”. Hannah was such a blessing to us all. Her experience gave me the courage to pursue a natural birth.
Chris, my sweet hubby, with Leeland.
So are you wondering about natural birth? I’d say if I can do it then anyone can but that’s not exactly right. It’s better to say that with God anyone can do it. Here are the three most important things that got me through an unmedicated birth, and they have nothing to do with breathing and meditation.
1. A close relationship with Jesus~ God gave me strength. I was comforted each step of the way as I prayed and in the last bit, as I cried out to God. The Lord spoke to me in lil ways through out the experience. He used His word, other believers, and the beauty of creation to help me along.
2. A good birth team ~ I was super blessed to have my favorite people with me for Leeland’s birth. My mom and Chris were there for Michael’s birth as well. They are my heroes and have always encouraged me. Then I had my best friend Hannah as a doula. Her experience was a huge help. It’s very important that the people on your team actually believe in and support your natural birth. They need to be positive people who will cheer you on rather than pity you or bring you down. They need to know how to cheer you on and to make sure that the don’t offer pain meds at the first sign of discomfort. My team did mention low dose pain meds as an option but they never talked about the big stuff like an epidural. They knew I was opposed to that. All of them were aware of my birth plan. My midwife Nicole completed the team. She never tried to push me into anything. She respected my wishes. She wasn’t afraid to instruct me even when I was in so much pain I didn’t want to listen. She showed tough love. Her lil tips like relaxing my forehead and focusing my screaming energy into pushing, gave me what I needed to succeed. I held on to those little things. She broke through my bubble and helped me focus.
3. A safe place~ Whenever animals give birth they find a nice quiet and safe space. My safe place was the hospital. I felt most comfortable there. I had toured the hospital many months before and I loved everything about it. The staff were friendly. We were able to warm the room and adjust the lighting. It felt like a spa. I would not have felt as safe at home or anywhere else. It was quiet and peaceful.
So those are my three tips. Do you plan on having a natural birth? Have you had one before? What was your experience? How did you feel afterwards? Please leave me some comment love. If you’ve been encouraged by this post I’d love to know.
Would I have a natural birth again, even though it was painful? I think so. If God wanted us to have more kids. It’s not easy but I believe it’s worth it. There was something supernatural and very spiritual about feeling the whole process.
I feel like I have a fierce and strong bond with Leeland because I walked through fire for him. I have a strong love for Michael as well. I’m not discounting his medicated birth or anyone elses for that matter. Every birth is beautiful and unique. I’m just saying that my experience with Leeland was special. I had never went through so much pain for another human being before. It made me think of Christ’ sacrifice for us. Unmedicated labor is the closest I’ve ever gotten to fellowshiping in Christ’ sufferings. I’m still in awe of what God did.
Not every woman experiences so much pain in labor and some people don’t feel pain at all. I’m not sure how. But I definitely had pain. It was pain with a purpose. I didn’t have to worry about the cascade of interventions because of meds. I didn’t have to worry about pitocin leading to a c-section.
We stayed in the hospital two nights. I wanted to stay longer. The room was nice and the food was great. Carrie brought Michael to see Leeland the next day. He’s such a good big brother, and he really loves his lil bubba.
Carrie holding Leeland.
We are so blessed with our friends. My three closest friends (Carrie, Hannah, and Erin) all brought meals the week we went home. We had friends from church bring a meal too. God’s provision is amazing. He keeps remindng me and showing me that He came to give me life, not take it away.
We’ve had a couple issues but not many. Leeland was jaundiced for a bit but it’s went away. He also had a tongue tie which can cause breastfeeding problems and a number of other things. Thankfully we were able to have it clipped last week.
Finally home! Leeland with Daddy.
It was strange taking Leeland home. I was scared at first. Also the drive was anxiety producing. I was so glad when we finally made it there. We had many sleepless nights though Leeland is an easy baby. Still, I’m exhausted and I feel like I haven’t quite recovered. But I’m thankful and overcome with the blessing of Leeland. At 3 weeks we are starting to get into a routine. It’s been nice to be able to eat the things I want. I can actually drink milk! Yaaa :). I’ve been eating cereal like crazy.
Here’s a more recent pic of Leeland. You can see he’s thinned out. His personality is really starting to shine through.
Well, God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover
Hello dear ones! God has been so good to us. He’s always good but this year we’ve been overwhelmed by blessings. I want to testify of God’s goodness as I share our Christmas photos with you. Feel free to share your testimonies in the comments. I love hearing from you!
It started in January when God protected my son Michael and I, in a big wreck we were in. Something changed. My perspective was shaken. I realized that I didn’t have control over my family like I thought. Sure I knew this in theory but my theory was put to the test. It was terrifying to think that my child could’ve died. My iron grip on my life and especially my family was just an illusion. No matter how much I held onto my life I could not keep it.
Matthew 16:25 hit me like a brick. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” I began to trust God on a different level. This was the start of letting go in many areas. I was scared to drive again and my faith was put to the test when my family and I took a road trip during a snowstorm a couple months later. Did I really trust that my days and the days of my family were in God’s capable hands? Did I trust God’s goodness?
I believe it was February when I felt the call to sign up for a missions trip to Belize. I was already looking at life differently because of the wreck. Usually I just gave money and sent someone else to missions, but when I saw the trip in the church bulletin I felt in my spirit “Go!”. It seemed crazy. As a kid I had always wanted to do missions work overseas. As a teen I had tried to go but it was never God’s timing. It was a dream that I had hung on the shelf. Mommyhood was my call. Homeschooling and being a Godly wife was my call. How could God use me in Belize? I was surprised as I watched God work everything out for the trip. I learned that I wasn’t crazy and that God had indeed called me. I saw him do miracles with finances so I could go. I also had to learn to let go of my family even more when I realized my son couldn’t go with me. I struggled to be away from my one and only child (at the time) for a week.
Then came March. Our family stepped out of our cultural comfort zone and took a road trip to Washington, D.C. and like I said…it was during a snow storm. I gripped the handle in the car as hard as I could, closed my eyes, and prayed as we drove past semi trucks that had spun off the road because of the ice. I clenched my teeth when we drove through crazy traffic in the city. I prayed as we tried to figure out the metro system in the freezing cold. God came through every time. My best laid plans fell through several times but I saw God work as I let go. We had beautiful family moments that were never planned, like finding an outdoor ice skating rink under the moonlight.
The rest of the spring was spent prepping for Belize. I came to grips with my lack of faith as I questioned how in the world I would get to Belize. God opened the door for me to teach about 30 kids in V.B.S. It was another test of faith and I felt completely inadequate. But God provided every step of the way and I saw several kids embrace the gospel. I also felt a love for other people’s children that I had not felt in awhile. I had been so consumed with my own family life, it was hard to care about others.
The Missions trip came. My husband shocked me by saying he wanted to try for a baby when I got back. I didn’t put much stock into it. I was content with my life although I had pined for another child years before when we were told we were infertile. God rocked my world in Belize. I was showered with love from so many children and I loved these kids that were not my own. I played with and put my heart and soul into the children. I saw such thankfulness and joy from those who had little. I saw great faith amidst tragedy.
God gave me boldness and replaced my fear with faith as I was put on the spot to share the gospel with hundreds of kids. God gave me the physical strength that I didn’t have. For once I was not plagued with chronic pain. I walked the Mayan ruins, I played dancing games with the kids, I kayaked in the ocean, and all of it was because God gave me the health. I felt the prayers of many. God had to deal with my attitude when I couldn’t talk to my son much during that week. The phone card didn’t work. I got very homesick. I didn’t always “feel” like a missionary. God used me despite my emotional issues.
When I got home it was strange. I did not feel the same boldness that I had before. Then my husband and I began to try for a baby. I prayed and asked others for prayer. Still I didn’t expect much. I was content with my life at the time. As I got used to my rich lifestyle again, God opened doors for me to draw closer to Him through service projects and a Bible study group. Then I got pregnant (August). Once again my world flipped upside down. At the same time I had found a lump in my breast and was scared to death of breast cancer. The timing all seemed wrong. Morning sickness came in like a bear and I couldn’t see what God was doing. God got me through my biopsy though and I am thankful that I don’t have cancer.
Now I am 21 weeks pregnant and I’m seeing the fruit of God’s plan. The sickness and depression has subsided. My body still has those frustrating pregnancy symptoms but I’m also finding the joy in the blessing of new life. I didn’t think I could handle another child. I didn’t see where a new baby would fit into our lives. But now I see God using the miracle of Leeland to bring my family closer. I’ve seen Him do amazing things in my marriage.
I’ve seen God answer the secret prayers of my heart…things that I never thought I’d see come to pass. And I realize that I had no hand in any of it. My tight grip on my family never accomplished anything. Only by letting go could I truly witness God working. I am overwhelmed. Through the good and the seemingly bad, God is faithful and He has a purpose. He is always good no matter what. I pray for the faith and thankfulness I need. I pray that I won’t get in the way of God’s plans. I am so glad that God worked despite me.
So dear ones I hope this is an encouragement to you. It’s hard to see the blessings when our focus is on saving our life. Worry will rob you of your joy. Trying to control everything will rob you of your joy. There is a beauty in surrender and truly letting go and letting God. I know that sounds cliche’ but it is the truth. It is when you empty yourself that God fills you to the brim. It is in brokeness that new life springs forth. I am still learning these lessons and will til I die. God is opening my eyes everyday to new things. Jesus is breath taking. God bless you and remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover
Hello dear ones, I am still alive. It’s been awhile. I have indeed been in another world. It’s called morning sickness hell. I’m nearing the end of my 12th week of pregnancy. So I’ve finally got some updates and hey, even a few words of wisdom…or something like that. Here it goes.
So above you can see my lil song bird’s picture. I adore this baby inside of me, but I hate pregnancy…atleast thus far. There’s over 8 yrs between this and my last pregnancy. We were labeled infertile. So this lil one is a miracle. Over the course of my infertile years I dealt with failed fertility treatments and a failed adoption. I spent the hardest years fantasizing about pregnancy. I bought baby clothes as a hobby. My sims had big families and I smiled and thought “How cute!” when the lil avatar threw up in the toilet. Sim morning sickness only lasts a day. I was sick and depressed during my first pregnancy. My Mom took care of me while my husband was deployed. No, that won’t be me next time, I told myself. If I ever get pregnant again I will cherish every second. Even if I’m sick, I’ll just push on. I’ll force myself to get out of the bed. I’ll take medicine and eat crackers if I get sick. I can sooo do this again. I pictured me, all aglow, still doing everything as if I wasn’t pregnant. Yep, I’d keep a clean house, cook homemade meals, and school my son like normal. Somebody go back in time and slap me, please!I
I am super thankful that I didn’t get pregnant all the times I begged for it. I can’t imagine throwing up 24/7 while taking care of a toddler. I know some moms do it well but not me. Some women have easy pregnancies. My sister has mostly been like that. This has not been my lot though. Bad morning sickness, low thyroid, and a surprise biopsy have been my lot. In a couple days I’m being checked for a lump in my abdomen. Just call me “Lumpy”.
The toilet and the bed have been my best friends. Even my mom barely knows me these days. I’m a recluse. My house is a mess but my husband does his best, while he juggles school and work too. I don’t cook or clean. I heave. I haven’t been taking care of my 8 yr old. He takes care of me. Seriously, Michael is wonderful at making toast and hot tea. I haven’t been to church or really anywhere. I’m starting to feel like a heathen. And as fun as watching reruns on Netflix is, I hate living this way. I actually WANT to clean my house.
Yes, I’m probably going insane. Maybe it’s the uncontrollable crying, and the hormonal fits of rage if I don’t get some dang Cocoa Puffs. Seriously, when I’m have a craving I will kill for it. Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. But I did have evil thoughts when my hubby made me wait a night and half a day for that chocolatey goodness. And he just lay there sleeping soundly while I was suffering with the worst case of insomnia…grrr. Cravings aren’t as bad as the aversions though. Just thinking about McDonalds make me want to vomit. Hello, I used to know the cashier there by name! I am changing into something unhuman….no, something un-Amber. Pretty soon I’ll be howling at the moon! My guys are probably scared of me but I’ve assured Michael that mommy won’t always be so mean.
Anywho, so my expectations were not realistic. I am happy now though. I’m eating my fourth bowl of Cocoa Puffs and it feels so good to be able to eat. I’ve lost a lot of weight from this ordeal. I need to pack on the pounds so the neighbors don’t mistake me for the Halloween skeleton. As horrible as this all sounds and as much as pregnancy stinks for me, I have had plenty of time to reflect on my life. I’ve decided to hang up my super woman cape. I’m coming to grips with reality and it’s starting to be okay…
You see, things weren’t perfect on the other side of the fence. I played the part of Super Mom/Woman very well. For several weeks, I mourned hanging up my cape. I missed how I used to “do it all”, how everything had it’s place and time. True, we’ve had some awesome times, but I know now that everying “I” did was because God gave me the strength and mental ability to do so. It didn’t take much to completely reduce me to a bedridden grouch. I wasn’t very joyful as Super Woman. Honestly, I was stressed and angry. My theme song was “Human” by Christina Perri. I went around lamenting that “I’m only human!”. I was mad that I was juggling everything, and most of it came out on my husband.
Something happened when I got sick. I didn’t have the energy to juggle. My husband had to take up the slack. For the first time in ten years of marriage, my hubby really started taking care of me. He brought me roses and gave me a foot rub. I quite enjoy my daily foot rub. It’s not paradise though. Things pile up quickly and it’s getting stressful for my hubby to do everything. My prayer is for middle ground. I don’t want to go back to doing it “all”. I think it’s good for my guys to do more. But I want to do some things too. I miss all the time I spent with Michael. He’s played way too many video games lately. I miss my own cooking. I appreciate my husband’s efforts but watching him try to cook a full course meal is stressful. I miss my version of cleanliness. I miss church. I miss driving to Walmart anytime I feel like it. I miss my friends. Pampering isn’t that fun when you feel like crap. I’m ready to start living.
I know that life won’t ever be the same. Homeschooling may never be the same. My blog will probably change. Heck, who knows how I’m gonna parent baby # 2. I have plans for trying different methods…cloth diapers, unmedicated child birth, breast feeding longer, and baby wearing. But if all those plans fly out the window I know I’ll still be a good mommy with God’s help. I won’t ever be perfect. I never was. I just thought I was “super”. I wasn’t. My God is the only super one.
Before I found out I was pregnant, I was doing a Bible study on the book of Daniel. There’s a story in there (Chp 4) about Nebuchadnezzar. He was a Babylonian king who thought he was the stuff because Babylon was a great city. He didn’t recognize that God had given him everything. Because Neb boasted and idolized himself, God took away his sanity for 7 years. The man left his palace and roamed the wilderness like an animal. When the 7 years were up, Neb humbled himself and recognized God as the sovereign over the kingdoms. Neb was only king because God allowed him to be. Neb’s kingdom was then given back to him.
I feel like I’ve had a Nebuchadnezzar experience. My insanity has been pregnancy, but I pray that things are starting to get better. I’ve still got pride issues but I’m a work in progress. Praise God, pregnancy doesn’t last seven years! 😉
Weeks before I got pregnant, we gave our hens away to my friend Erin. They are very happy in their new home. It would’ve been so hard to take care of them at this time. Thanks Erin for being a blessing!
A week ago our guinea pig Snowball went back to the pet shop. We had no time to give her the attention she needed. Hey! More room for the new baby :).
My big sister will be having her baby boy any day now. I can’t wait to meet my nephew. My Mom is thrilled to have an abundance of grandchildren!
The ultrasound tech gave us a hint on the gender of our lil song bird. I’m not telling though, not until we know for sure. Chris and I are still haggling over names. Yeah, we had 8 years to think of names, but all those don’t feel right anymore. Back to the drawing board.
The baby is very healthy. I’m not throwing up as much so maybe I will be too someday soon. My baby is super active and puts on a good show. I love my lil song bird.
My best buddy Hannah wants to throw me a shower and she’s going to be my doula. She’s given birth completely natural twice and she’s a La Leche league leader, so I’m in good hands. I’m still confused about cloth diapers. Hannah is like a stinkin’ cloth diaper genius. Maybe I should buy a doll and practice.
I’m loving the midwives I see. So far my experience has been ten times better than my prenatal care my first pregnancy. The midwife works with the hospital so I should be giving birth at the hospital….just unmedicated. I’ve been told this hospital is like a nice hotel.
My hubby graduates in May, Lord willing. Pretty soon he will be applying for jobs. Please keep us in your prayers. Our lives are changing dramatically.
I’m not sure when this blog will get to some form of normal. I’ve had a few ideas floating around. We’ll just have to see. If you’re still subscribed, I thank you. That encourages me to continue.
My book…hmm. This was supposed to be the year of the book. It looks like the year of the baby instead. My book is still important to me. Family comes first though. My NaNoWriMo plans will depend on my health and sanity.
Crafts and homeschooling…yeah, one day at a time. Our school may not be as hands on as it used to be. Still, I’m sure I’ll have something to share every now and then.
Thanks again for reading. Hopefully I’ll write again soon. God bless and remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover
PS: We actually did some pretty kewl things for our Summer bucketlist before I got pregnant. Although it’s Fall, maybe I’ll get around to posting those adventures. We’ll see…
Dear ones, here are some wonderful vids by Beth Moore on God’s purpose. Also I’m sharing a bit of my story when it comes to purpose and dealing with abuse.
Email sub: If you can’t see the vids then please come to my site to see them.
I don’t want to take long because I truly hope you have the time to watch these insightful and Spirit filled messages by Beth Moore. I’ve been in too much pain today to get out of the house. So Michael and I let Beth Moore preach to us today. The Lord knows that I struggle with this issue of purpose, especially with the things that He has allowed to come through my life. I went through a type of sexual abuse as a young child by a much older kid. It was confusing at the time. I just knew that I felt dirty and that when the door was closed nobody could know. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I began to remember all I had suppressed. A hurtful situation triggered everything. Then I began to have issues and I wondered why God had allowed me to suffer in that way. Any of you that have suffered abuse as a child can probably relate. As Beth Moore says, the effects of abuse stay with you your whole life. It colors your choices. Sometimes I think that is worse than the abuse itself.
I know that God didn’t cause my abuse but in His sovereignty He allowed it. I am just now starting to move past my pain and look at the purpose of my suffering. How can my past help others? Well, I hope it is helping you today. Sometimes we just want to know that we are not alone…that we are not the only damaged ones. People wear convincing masks. They’ve got the nice hair and make up. They’ve got smiling pictures on Facebook. But down deep we are all damaged human beings. We are damaged by the curse on this world and how it has reeked havoc in our lives. We see the bloodiness of that curse when we look at poverty and the condition of orphans. It is often too much for us to bear. We want to cover it up and pretend it doesn’t exist because it hurts! But idolizing perfection and worshiping those who “have it together”, hurts too! Because we know we can never measure up. Praise God! We have a PERFECT God who gets knee deep in the BLOODINESS of our wounds and HOLDS us tight. He loves us now as we’re wounded and He loved us while we were being wounded.
His LOVE never fails. I have that comfort. God never left me alone. When the door was closed, God was still there. He saw a wounded naive little girl and He thought about the purposes He has for my life. He saw the people I would minister to and He set up those that would minister to me. He saw the beautiful little boy that I would bear and how I would do everything to protect that child’s innocence. He knew that the naive damaged little girl would grow up to be a warrior princess, commissioned by her King of Kings to protect the innocence of others and to offer hope to the wounded. He saw that. He purposed that.
Jesus Christ, God’s son, God Himself in the flesh, came down to earth so He could be abused by others. So He could take on the sins of others and die with that sin, then be raised to life so we could overcome sin. Why did God have to come down to earth Himself and get in the dirt of things, to save us? I believe this with all my heart: How can we understand the wounded when we’ve never been wounded ourselves? Jesus became one of us so we can serve a God that understands us. He knows our weaknesses and He knows our pain. That matters.
When I see people like Beth Moore ministering with humility and understanding, it blesses my heart. I have hope that damaged people can be healed. God can still use me. I needed to hear that today. God bless you & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover
PS: After the vids I share technical info on how promises made to the Israelities can indirectly apply to us. Also, I talk about how it’s important to be God driven not purpose driven.
Part 1~ Beth Moore: God’s purpose for you
Part 4~ this one really spoke to me…the line between carnality and hyperspirituality
Part 6- deals with abuse and God’s purpose
PPS: A note on Jeremiah 29:11. Some have asked how this verse can apply to modern believers when it was written to the Israelites. I truly believe it is important to take verses in context. I do not believe that every promise in the Bible is mean’t for us. Some of them I don’t want because they are curses! A majority of the Bible, including the New Testament was written to people in the past. It is not directly written to us but we can apply most of it indirectly. And all of it we can learn from somehow. I can apply Jeremiah 29:11 to my life indirectly because it lines up with the context of the whole Bible and what God’s plan is for humanity. I can read Acts 17:26-27 which speaks to all humanity and see the same truth that is found in Jeremiah 29:11.
I can see the outward blessings and convenant promises for the Israelites as it flips to the new covenant and manifest inwardly. I do not believe in the Prosperity gospel because it mainly focuses on the outward. We can see that people of great faith are suffering despite their faith. Faithful Christians are being mutilated and persecuted. They don’t have big houses and fancy cars. Some have just enough to get by. Yet, they have great faith. I do believe that while we do not inherit a physical promised land as gentiles, that all believers do inherit inward prosperity which is spiritual. We all have access to peace, joy, love, self control, and so on. The royal law of love is written on our hearts. So what we see as physical in the Old Testament manifests itself inwardly in our time. Christ performed many miracles and I believe miracles still happen. But the greatest miracle ever is that God Himself, through the Holy Spirit can dwell with us forever and that we can be born again (changed completely to be God’s child! A spiritual rebirth).
Lastly, I want to say that there is a difference between God’s purposes, man’s purposes, and Satan’s purposes. We’ve already heard that Satan’s purposes are to steal, kill, and destroy. We know that God’s purposes are for our Good and to bring Him glory. But man also has purposes.
Proverbs 16:9 NKJV “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
I believe it is very important that we are God-driven, not purpose-driven. This goes against popular beliefs but I believe it is Biblical. I say this because we can never fully know all that God has purposed for us. We may think that God has called us to minister in one area and pursue that but then what do we do if God tells us to do something different, something that doesn’t seem to fit our “calling”? If we are purpose driven then we will lay everything aside to follow what we already believe God has called us to and we may miss the mark. If we are God-driven then every day we will rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us into God’s purposes. God may have us in one job that seems to fit our talents and then later call us to do something that we have no idea how to do. We can never know God’s full purpose for our life, until we’re in Heaven.
At first it seems the same, being purpose driven and God driven. Shouldn’t we do all we can to pursue our callings? Friends, the enemy is subtle. The difference seems small but it’s effects are huge. No, I say. We should do all we can to pursue God and then we will walk in the paths he means for us. Callings change day to day. I love music and it would seem that with my musical ability that I am called to minister through music. That makes sense in man’s thinking. I did minister through music at a time. But there came a time with my health that I had to minister in another way. Did I lose my calling? No, my ultimate calling is to follow Jesus. Even so, I must abide with Christ and develop our relationship so I will even know how to follow Christ. If I focus on all the things I can do to be Christ like but I don’t actually know Christ or spend time with him, then I am being purpose driven, not God driven. Make sense? It really is simple but as humans we like to complicate things. Focus on Jesus. Abide with Jesus. Simple.
In this post: Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy these videos of two of the stories I read to Michael today: The Princess & the Kiss and Brave Young Knight.
The Princess and the Kiss
Brave Young Knight (just a synopsis)
Hello dear ones! I am so thankful that with God’s help that Chris and I remained virgins until we got married. It was such a beautiful gift and how God intended it. But I admit that I wish I had saved my first kiss for our wedding day. I have friends who have done so and it seemed to stir the passion more. I wish I had not given my first kiss to a boy that wouldn’t matter in the long run. I wish I had not created soul ties by giving my emotions to boyfriends I had before Chris.
I had planned on saving my first kiss with Chris until our wedding but the sneaky scoundrel 😉 (just kidding hun) convinced me to kiss him before he left for basic training. Kissing is fun but it opens up major temptation before your married…especially prolonged kissing. Thankfully my hubby was gone most of our engagement so some of the temptation was removed. But if I could go back I’d save all my kisses for my wedding day.
Purity is a big part of my testimony and how God changed my views on dating when I was a teen. I did not grow up with a healthy model of marriage or courtship. But the Bible and other Christian books helped. I hope to pass the same teachings of purity to my son. I love the great kids books out there that make purity such a special thing. I love how “The Princess and the Kiss” makes a kiss special because it really is.
You don’t have to have sex with someone to create a soul tie. You can give bits of your heart through emotional connections and touches. This is coming from a chick who’s going on ten years of marriage. I still regret the boyfriends I had before Chris. I have other wives I’m friends with that feel the same about their past relationships. I’ve heard it’s even harder if you give away your virginity.
I’ve observed many relationships during youth…dating, courtship, those having premarital sex, those abstaining, those that saved their first kiss, and those that didn’t (like me). I’ve got to say that the most passionate and purest was those that saved their kiss….second to that were those who remained abstinent until marriage. Lastly, those who had premarital sex had it the worst, even those couples that eventually got married and were each others first partner. Even those who were Christians and life got better. They still had a shaky start and trust issues that reached into their marriages and took awhile to heal. There is forgiveness no matter what. But if you have a fresh slate why not keep it that way? Why not go for the best if you can have it?
I love my life and my marriage. It’s beautiful. I’ve got almost ten years of kissing my hubby on my resume lol. It would not have killed me to save a couple months of kissing before marriage and have kept kisses for our wedding. I have the privilege of looking back at my prayer journals and even my husband’s during our engagement. To be honest I’m a little embarrassed…cause I know that we both caused each other to lust and to lapse in our relationship with God. I’m embarrassed that my husband had to repent on my account. I was so naive that I didn’t understand what certain things did to guys.
I could go on and on about boundaries and certain rules but I don’t want to scare you into legalism. I just want to encourage you, if you’re not married, don’t try to get your toe as close to the boundary line as you can. You can easily fall to the other side…no matter how spiritual you think you are. I’ve known the purest to lose it and fall into regret. It’s not worth the shame. It’s not worth losing the one you love. And it’s not worth starting a marriage because you “have” to. It’s not worth the distrust. True love guards and protects.
You may think you’re going to marry someone and then find out they are not the one for you. I said this once in a purity message I gave at a youth group. There was a couple there that were about to go to college and you’d think they would’ve got married. Well, not long after they broke up and everyone was shocked. I believe they took the purity message to heart and I’m glad. How heart breaking would it have been for them to give themselves to someone they would never be with again?
Oh, and one piece of advice for the single ladies: if your boyfriend hates your father and tries to keep you away from your friends, if he’s always trying to get physical, and he laughs during the True Love Waits or any purity message….dump him! He most likely only wants sex and will dump you when he realizes you’re not giving it. 😉 Just had to throw that our there lol.
Oh, I’d much rather have learned from books than bad experiences! Certain things you don’t need to learn the hard way….just like I wouldn’t want to put my head under the wheel of a Semi-truck to learn that it’s a stupid idea!
Anywho, I’m about to step off my soapbox. I’m just so passionate about this because how it affected my life and others. I knew of a homeschool couple that were so great but their parents left them alone a lot. Well, they had premarital sex and the girl got pregnant and had a miscarriage. It broke their relationship with each other and with God. They both spiraled into crazy sexual sins and into dangerous life styles. They are adults and from the last I heard they are both still not living for God.
To think….homeschooled kids…kids who went to church. But their parents did not guard the kids’ purity by putting up boundaries. Courtship or just not letting them be completely alone would’ve protected them. It breaks my heart til this day and I can’t help but be a little upset at the carelessness of the parents.
Teenagers are still children. Parents can’t help much what happens after graduation but while kids are under the roof we can do all we can to prepare and protect them. The best way is to be an example. Single parents…all the above purity advice goes for you as well. I urge you not to let your kids see you give your heart and body to the people you date. You don’t have to be a virgin to maintain a standard of purity as an adult. God’s forgiveness covers the past and he can help you in the future.
Sexual purity does not mean perfection. There are so many other areas in marriage and no one will ever be perfect. A good start helps though. It really does. Marriage is complicated enough with out a lot of baggage.
Lastly, I want to say to you dear one: God made you special and your body is a gift that should be taken care of and protected. Your heart is the same. You are worth the best. Just like the princess in the story. You’re in my prayers and I know God is writing a beautiful love story for you..whether it’s for marriage of just for being God’s child that He loves.
I read the book “Because You Love Me” by Max Lucado with Michael. I recommend it for adults too. If you ever wonder why God has certain rules then please check it out:
Today (Sept 4th) I’ve been married eight years to my God-send Chris Dover :). Happy anniversary Chris!
We celebrated this past weekend at Callaway. It didn’t quite go the way we planned but we did wear ourselves out enjoy ourselves canoeing on the lake. Well, Chris actually did most of the rowing. I didn’t actually move us much with mine lol. Pics Below
Two of our anniversaries, Chris was in Iraq. The other two in the beginning were spent fishing. I determined that fishing wasn’t romantic enough for an anniversary. Chris was so busy fishing he didn’t pay any attention to me lol. So our fifth anniversary we spent the weekend in Savannah at the Hamilton Turner Inn.
We can’t remember what happened our sixth anniversary. A couple months before I was busy preparing for my Mom & Step Dad’s wedding. This is the fruit decor I made for it.
Doesn’t Mom look gorgeous!
For our seventh anniversary we took pictures at Callaway and read poems to each other. It was a special number for me since my parents were only married seven years. We didn’t have much money so we just dressed up & had an unprofessional photo shoot.
Mom, Kim (my stepdad), and our best friends were there (Hannah, James, Olivia, & Liam). We didn’t have a preacher of anything.
Michael and his “girlfriend”
The Butterfly Pavillion
Chris is my perfect fit and an answer to prayer. We were virgins when we got married. God brought us together. I spent my senior year focusing on God and not dating. I prayed that if God wanted me to get married that he would bring my husband at the end of the year. Little did I know that the answer to my prayer would be my buddy “Dover” (what we called him) from youth group. We were also in band and on the worship team at church together. Chris said he looked up during worship one day and felt God tell him that I was the one.
There was a lot of prayer in the beginning because I never expected to marry a military man. It’s so funny because when I told Chris I wasn’t into casual dating that I wanted marriage, Chris said that he needed to get married anyways because he was getting old. He was 19 at the time lol. I was 18. We dated a couple of months before he proposed. Then he left the same month for basic training in the military. We got married a year later during a hurricane. It only rained once during our wedding though. When I came through the doors. So they opened umbrellas for me and I felt like the Queen lol.
We were married in September and Chris deployed in January. He came home in the summer for 2 weeks and I got pregnant. Six months later he came home and a few months later Michael was born.
Our beginning was beautiful and every bit like a fairy tale but the years to come have shown the deepest and truest of loves. Little did we know that we would go through two deployments, several funerals, a couple of moves, and taking care of my Dad til his death. Also a couple of surgeries for Chris, one for me, and then taking care of Mom when she got in a wreck. We went through a lot of financial hardship at first and then some more when Chris got out of the military for being disabled. Now Chris is going to school and working. I’m homeschooling our son. Life has been quite a whirlwind. It hasn’t been easy. War changed us both. I’ve had bouts of sickness. We’ve both had to learn to deal with the worst of each other. But we’ve also grown to appreciate each other through these times. We’ve learned the meaning of self sacrifice and unconditional love/respect.
Well, God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover
Today is my son’s 2nd Christian Birthday, meaning that two years ago my little boy gave his life to Christ. It was not pushed or forced. It was something amazing that he decided on his own. Unfortunately I was asleep :(. We were visiting my Granny in our hometown. Michael had started asking questions on the trip down. Michael already knew the gospel message but it was never rammed down his throat. I know a person can only come to Christ if the Spirit draws them.
I was taking a nap :(…..and Michael started another “God” conversation with my Granny. Then he decided he wanted to pray and give his life to Jesus. He went and told my mom, who offered to help him pray. Mom loves to tell the story of how her 4 yr old grandson basically said “I need to do this now or I may never do it.” That still blows me away but then again Michael blows me away daily. So he actually didn’t want help praying. He did it on his own and asked for Jesus’ forgiveness.
What’s neat and why I totally believe his commitment was/is real is the spiritual battle around him at that time. You see up until this point Michael was having bad nightmares every night. He thought he saw stuff in his room….and he probably did. I would pray and pray but still every night……even with Christian music on. I don’t doubt kids when they say they see things because I know some really do. I saw things as a kid……scary things……I still see things but not as frequent. I was tormented by my nightmares and it was worse when things happened in real life (like blinds moving up and down on there own). When Michael gave his life to Christ the nightmares pretty much stopped. He may have one every once in awhile but for the most part he has peace at night. Plus I’ve seen the fruit of the Spirit in Michael’s life as he grows daily by reading his Bible & praying. It’s a beautiful thing to see. He has a genuine love for Jesus. It’s not about a get out of Hell pass.
So for Michael’s second year of being a Christian I took him to the Space & Science Center. Then he had a Swiss Roll “cake” with candles. All of this celebration has me thinking about my own Salvation experience. How I met the love of my life and my best friend….the one who died and lived for me…Jesus Christ.
Below is a music video from “Courageous” and also one of me and Michael’s songs. This song also makes me think of my Heavenly Father, who is always willing to “dance” with me (spend time with me). In the movie the Dad was too busy to dance with his daughter and then she dies. He then takes his dance all alone while he’s grieving.
The Beginning of My Story ~Amber Dover
I’ve pondered how to share my testimony and what brought me to Jesus Christ (aka how I became a Christian). My story isn’t just my own. It is a tapestry of stories and lives that were changed and in turn changed my own. I did not find Christ……..He found me.
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?5 And when he hath found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
(Pic deleted in case of copy right issues)
I could tell you every detail but that would distract you from the point. I will do my best to keep this simple….yet rich.
Basically, I remember a time when I lived in fear and lacked peace. I really didn’t understand a Father’s love…much less the Heavenly Father’s love. My Dad (Jim) was my Mom’s (Ann) second husband. I have a half sister from her first marriage (Jen’s blog is on my blogroll). My parents divorced when I was 7 but they separated a couple of times in between. I remember that my Dad wasn’t home very often and that we didn’t have a lot of money (American-wise). We moved a lot and my Dad didn’t keep jobs very well. When my parents divorced I went to live with my mom. I saw Dad on holidays, during the summer, and every other weekend.
My Dad and I didn’t have a good start but we finished well. The first half of my childhood my Dad was barely around. I remember him being with his friends a lot. Some days he would forget to pick me up from school and my Papa (Dad’s stepdad) would pick me up instead. There were some good moments with Dad but it just seemed other things and people were more of a priority to him than me.
It was in my Papa that I first saw a glimpse of the Heavenly Father. My Papa told me I was special and he spent time with me. Papa was a quiet and humble man. If anyone acted Christ-like it was him. Papa wasn’t perfect but there was something different about him.
I grew up going to church. My mom was a Christian but in my early years she was struggling in her own relationship with God. Still, her wisdom kept me away from some scary things that I had been drawn to (namely witchcraft). My grandparents (Mema & Papa) took me to church as well. I knew the Bible well…even read the book of Revelation in my spare time. I wanted to be a good girl and I did a good job of playing the part….on the outside.
Inside I was struggling. I was terrified of going to Hell and I said the “Sinner’s Prayer” so many times that if it was magical it would’ve worked. But Salvation isn’t magical. Only the Spirit of God can draw a person to Christ’ redemption. It’s nothing we can conjure on our own by prayers or good works.
“8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
I remember when I found out my Dad was smoking and selling pot (marijuana). I cried all night. I was so scared that the police would find out and take my Dad away. I remember hearing my Dad and his friend’s cursing while I slept on the couch. I now knew these “friends” were dealers too. I didn’t feel safe. I prayed a lot. I begged God for His help. Why wasn’t it working?
I tried to be good. I said the prayer that the preacher told us to say. I even got baptized. Still I was terrified and still I couldn’t control my bad thinking. I seemed to be a good girl on the outside but inside I thought horrible things. I would curse to myself and then slap myself to try to make the anger go away.
I felt horrible. People picked on me at school and I just felt like a nobody. I didn’t know who I was. My attempt to be the good girl wasn’t going well. Sometimes I slipped up in front of people. If God was real then why did He seem so far away? At that point Christianity was almost a joke. I saw people go to church and still act the same. My Dad didn’t go to church really but he knew the Bible good. He twisted it too. He had a shirt that said “God made Weed”. Somehow I knew God didn’t approve of these things or how my Dad and his friends acted.
“22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus.”
God also reached out to me through my Granny. She always knew the right things to say. I felt torn apart by divorce and the colorful people brought into my life, mainly Dad’s friends but also Mom’s boyfriends. Others in my family were struggling too. A first cousin of mine committed suicide. It wasn’t too long after that when my sister tried to kill herself. Praise God her attempt was in vain. A couple years later another first cousin committed suicide.
I have had the privilege of seeing God transform many lives. My sister was one of them. At one time she was hopeless. By God’s grace she is now a strong follower of Christ. Her love for Jesus is apparent and I’ve seen how He gave her peace and still does so.
I had come to a place of feeling absolutely filthy when a “friend” sexually abused me. I didn’t realize I was a victim until adulthood. I just thought I was a really bad person. This abuse happened over the course of a year or more. I can’t remember for sure. I believe it was before I turned ten but I again I can’t quite remember.
The turning point came the summer of 1998, after I had turned 13. My Family began to change in a wonderful way. It is then that I first realized that Jesus Christ was/is really alive and that he affects the lives of those who encounter Him. My Dad was on the path of destruction. His friends were druggies. His music was all about death and he had posters everywhere of skulls etc. He was going nowhere as a father. But Jesus Christ completely changed my Dad’s course.
This is how Dad told his story which in turn became mine as well. Dad said he was driving down the road, rock music blasting, and joint in his hand when the conviction of God came down hard. My Dad had given his life to Christ when he was seven but his family fell apart and he turned down the path of drugs. Anywho, Dad was driving and he felt God telling him that he had to change how he was living. God told Dad that he couldn’t live for him and still do the bad things he was doing. Dad tried to speed up…….like he could get away from God lol. Finally he couldn’t handle the conviction any longer. He pulled over, turned off his music, and flipped the joint out the window. My Dad completely surrendered himself to Christ that day.
I went to spend the summer with my Dad. Usually I stayed with my grandparents the most because my Dad was busy with his friends and he didn’t have a big place for awhile. This summer my Dad had his own trailer though. So I went to stay with Dad. My mouth dropped open when I saw the place. All of the “Grateful Dead” posters were gone! The TV was gone! Dad’s music was gone! And Dad was dressed decent. I was like “what happened?!” So Dad explained his testimony to me. I didn’t understand what it mean’t to feel conviction. I knew guilt but not conviction. I kind of shrugged my shoulders. Dad found God. Great. Dad quit smoking/selling pot and lost alot of his “friends”. I really got confused though when I saw a change in how my Dad treated ME. Dad actually cared and wanted to spend time with me. Dad wasn’t perfect but something or someone had changed him.
I knew it wasn’t something…….because church and prayers didn’t work for me or others. My Dad talked about God like he really knew Him….like he was a real person…not some cosmic genie. One day me and my buddy Philipp were hanging out in Dad’s living room when Dad decided to put on an old preaching tape he had. The speaker was a revival preacher named Olan Daphron and he had died many years before. The man began to talk about sanctification and justification…..words I had read in my Bible but never understood. Basically it was what Jesus’ sacrifice (his blood…death and resurrection) actually does for us. He talked about true repentance. Not begging for forgiveness just to get out of Hell………but actually choosing to commit to God and let Christ change you.
I had heard the simple gospel message many times. But something was different about that day. For the first time I felt God speaking to my heart. Yes, I had said the sinner’s prayer but deep down I thought I could change myself on my own. I wasn’t sorry for my sins. I just wanted to get out of the consequences of them. I cared about how people saw me….not God. God wasn’t even real to me….just a story in a book. But in that special moment I knew without a doubt that God was/is real. That Jesus had REALLY died to pay for MY sins. I knew in my heart that Jesus really did come back to life three days later…….that Jesus Christ was/is the Son of God. I knew Jesus wanted me to live for him….to make Him Lord (master) of my life.
“16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
It was painful. Painful to realize that I was hopeless to change myself. That I was a sinner and on my way to Hell no matter how many prayers I prayed. But it was also joyful because now I knew that Jesus really could save me…..that He would change me. It was a gift I could accept. I just had to believe….truly believe in my Heart and then confess it with my mouth. I asked God’s forgiveness and mean’t it. I wasn’t muttering a rote prayer to the atmosphere. I was talking to God almighty. I wanted Him to be my Heavenly Father. I wanted to live for Him and do what He wanted no matter the cost.
In that moment I finally knew Peace. I was sealed by the Holy Spirit. I became God’s child. I met the love of my life…..I met Jesus Christ. He began to change me and still changes me daily. I’m not perfect at all. But I do know the King of the universe. The Heavenly Father who reached out to me through family members and even teachers (who prayed for me)……now called me by name and I knew His voice. Every day I see the Holy Spirit lead me. Times when I’m angry and I hear the Spirit say “apologize”. Times when I feel unloved and God’s peace wraps around me like physical arms.
My Dad became a minister the following year and I was baptized a second time (the real time) in the ocean by a missionary. (Baptism symbolizes the change within.) I went to live with my Dad and God restored our relationship. My Dad actually became a good father. We still had our moments but I can thankfully say that when my Dad died in 2009 we were completely reconciled. I was blessed to have my Dad lay his hands on and pray for my son. Dad died in October and Michael became a Christian in July.
It was hard on my Mom when I went to live with Dad but even in that time God used it to draw her closer to him. Mom has always been my best human friend and it’s been beautiful to see how God brought her out of depression. My Mom inspires me with her walk with Jesus. I have seen Jesus change the lives of many family members including my Father-in-law. They are all filled with God’s love and it’s so much nicer to be around them. You see, when someone truly meets Jesus and surrenders to Him they will change. It may not be overnight change but you will see a difference in their life and in how they act.
I’ve dealt with many things…..depression, suicide, anger, and bitterness. I felt impure so long because of my past. I am not perfect but Jesus Christ has brought me through these things. He has kept me from attempting suicide. He turned my sorrow during my husband’s deployments into Joy. He taught me and continues to teach me how to really live. What it means to have an abundant life. How to be content whether rich or poor. He has restored my purity.
Jesus led me in my decisions……things I had never thought to choose for myself (marrying an army man….being a homechool mom). I’m learning that God’s ways are so much better than mine. I may try to plan my life but my plans will fail. It is God’s hand that keeps me where I should be. I still cry. I still bleed. I’ve been picked on for my Faith and sometimes my Faith causes me to endure great hardship. God didn’t promise sunshine and rainbows. He told us we would be persecuted and that we would endure hardship because we live in a fallen world. He did promise to always be with us and that no one can separate us from Him. Jesus keeps His own. Even when we stray, the Father draws us back to Him if we are really His.
“14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
My sin nature drew me towards bad things… paths that led to fear. Jesus Christ draws me to the Light and to peace. Every good gift comes from Him. I am so thankful that Jesus saved me….that he did hear my cry after all. I was in complete darkness until Jesus came into my life and heart. I can’t imagine living in that darkness again and I pray for everyone who doesn’t know Jesus.
God created this world in perfection but sin (disobedience) corrupted the world and caused it to be cursed. Likewise we are all cursed. Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem us….to pay the price for our sin. He rose three days later because death could not keep Him. Jesus is alive and by him we can know eternal life too. God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell. So He sent His son, Jesus, to save us. We must choose His salvation…..to follow Him. God will not force anyone to believe in Him. The Holy Spirit is a gentle man. What do you choose? Death or Life? Jesus is the only way to the Father (eternal life).
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Jesus is real. He requires true friendship and commitment. You either love Him or your don’t. If you love Him you will follow Him. You won’t be perfect at all but you will want to be like Christ. You will want to spend time with Jesus by praying and reading His word. I now know that prayer is just talking to God and listening to Him. He’s real and He requires real relationship. Would you consider a person a true friend if they never talked to you? God speaks to us through His word (the Bible) which is His love letters to us….even his discipline is Love….He will do whatever it takes to draw His own back to Him. Because there can be no life or light apart from God. He IS Life and Light (the true kind….not the counterfeit).
Being a devout follower of Jesus means a very big choice. I pledged my allegiance to Jesus Christ no matter what happens. Whether that means persecution, death, or hardship I choose to follow Jesus. This is serious stuff…….no playing church….only caring about God when things are rosy or when you’re so scared all you can cry is “God”. No this is complete loyalty come what may….rain or shine. Even when you don’t understand what God is doing and even when you get mad at Him (don’t worry He can handle it)………still saying “God I choose you even though I feel hurt and mad at you”. Because Jesus is real and once you truly know Him you can’t help but love Him…….no matter the cost. I don’t care what this Faith….this love relationship costs me, I don’t EVER want to go back to not knowing Christ. I won’t go back. I may slip and fall but you better believe it I’ll be on my knees saying “God here I am! Please don’t leave me.” And He won’t leave me….because I am His child. The Heavenly Father doesn’t abandon His children. I love Him so much because He loved me and showed me by His blood.
“35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I can’t convince you that Jesus is real and I can’t convince you I truly know Jesus. I pray you see the Truth in how God works in my life. But honestly unless the Spirit Himself draw you then nothing is going to happen. I will tell you this. If you truly want to know God and you’re ready in your heart to truly surrender to Him. He will find you…….He will save you…….and He will make you His Child. You see, God the Father is looking for people who are looking for Him. He knows who will commit and who won’t. So in this way God chooses us but there is also Free-will. Because God already knows who is going to choose Him. Sometimes His choices are surprising…..take the apostle Paul…..once he murdered Christians but God changed Him and forgave Him……..then Paul became one of the greatest Christians, wrote most of the New Testament, and was willing to die for Christ…which he did.
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God is so merciful. I was once a nobody and on the path of darkness but now I am a Daughter of the King of Kings. Thank you Jesus!
Here is the life-changing message I heard way back when. It is preached by my Dad in this version.
and here’s the second part:
(Note in 12:54 when he says we will be “equal with Christ” he did not mean we will be lil gods (equal in that way). It was either a slip of words or he was referring to how we will be co-heirs with Christ. Please don’t be confused.)
The Gospel of John Movie (Crucifixion)
God bless and remember the High King Lives! ~Amber Dover
Hello friends and I hope you’re having a lovely Sunday. What a week for controversy. Hilary Rosen’s comments have stirred up alot of debate on whether stay at home mom’s actually work. You know I don’t do debates in my comment area. That’s not what this blog is about. If you want to debate you can always check out these two blogs & comment there:
The second blog is about homeschooling. I don’t want to debate with anyone but I do want to share my own experiences as a stay at home mom and a homeschool teacher. I’m including pics and at the end a recipe ;).
First, let me say that I don’t believe every one is called to homeschool. Some people have to work outside the home to survive. Now I’m not talking about moms working so they can keep their fancy car & manicures. I’m talking about moms who live for their kids and have to work to put food on the table. My mom was a single mother and she busted her butt working two jobs & going to school. She was always home when I got home from school though. Yes, I went to public school.
If you don’t believe homeschooling is your calling then don’t homeschool. God made us all unique. What’s important is that you love and do what you think is best for your kids. No one should tell you how to parent.
Most people who are against homeschooling know very little about it or they’ve met one of the few extreme families that probably shouldn’t have been homeschooling in the first place.
I truly believe being a stay at home mom is a calling and schooling my son one of the greatest things I’ll ever do. I definitely can’t do it without God’s help. I knew in Highschool that I wanted to homeschool my children. There were a few homeschooled kids who switched to public school their freshmen year. I had met them before in community theater. They were super brilliant and became popular fast. I had a few friends at church that homeschooled their kids as well. I’ve always enjoyed hanging out with different age groups and some of my close friends were in their forties. I would help babysit and I got to see how they homeschooled. It was so peaceful and beautiful. I knew that’s what I wanted for my kids. To be fair, I did meet one homeschool kid who went to public school & got wild. But I think that had more to do with his personality and the way his parents were. Statistics show most homeschoolers are not that extreme and they actually do really well in the world.
Anywho, I was a Junior in Highschool when I felt God’s calling on my life. I had wanted to move away and go to Bible college in Iowa or go to the mission field. But during a time of prayer it was made clear in my heart that I wasn’t supposed to go off to college but instead I was supposed to stay and get married …to be the woman of God behind the man of God. Few times in my life have I been so certain of a calling…..this was one of them. I wasn’t dating at the time and it seemed crazy. My Senior English teacher was so upset that I didn’t want to go to college. Because of this decision I didn’t take math at all my senior year. English was my only core class and the rest were electives like art and band…computers etc. I actually had fun that year. My parents were very supportive of my decision and they didn’t push college on me. I had other family members who tried to change my mind but I know they were doing it because they cared. I’m 27 and I don’t regret my life at all.
It wasn’t until after graduation that I fell in love with my soul mate and we were engaged. I was 19 when we got married. I spent the year of my engagement volunteering and keeping busy with ministry. Most of the engagement my hubby was in training for the army. I also worked a bit to raise money for my wedding. I spent alot of time in prayer and Bible study that year and it really helped me. I did go to Bible college for 6 months but it was at a satellite school set up in a church. I loved learning how to write sermons and how to study Hebrew and Greek in a lexicon. Also, learning the Greek alphabet song with a bunch of old guys was hilarious! My youth minister (who also married us) was the lead singer of a Christian rock band and sometimes I would travel with them to sell t-shirts etc. They weren’t huge but they did have some neat venues. God really put all the pieces of my life together.
When my son, Michael, was born I soon learned that the call to be the woman of God behind the man of God didn’t just mean my husband. It’s become clearer that my son was the man of God (my husband is too). I haven’t seen many young children with such a passion for Christ.
I worked at an early learning center before my son was born. I loved hanging out with the kids and at first I thought I had found a career. But then I got pregnant and other kids got on my nerves lol. I decided I just wanted to take care of my own and leave the work force (plus I was SOOOO sick). Anyways, I took care of alot of the wealthier children. These kids were at the best “daycare” but they missed their parents so much. These were not moms that couldn’t afford to stay home…..some of these people probably did stay home and didn’t have time for their kids. I realized that the other ELC workers were actually the ones raising the kids from babyhood to school age. The workers had to give the mom’s advice about their own children. I knew one lady who worked at the learning center and had her kid in it too. You could see it killed her to leave her little girl with someone else. It’s like working so you can pay for daycare….makes no sense.
I didn’t want to parent other people’s children. Deciding to stay home was the best decision I could make for my son. I know not everyone can do that. We truly are blessed. We aren’t rich and we live without certain luxuries but it’s worth it. I know my son is getting an education he couldn’t get anywhere else…it’s tailored to his unique style of learning. Michael loves to draw so we use Draw Write Now in our studies…teaching him how to draw and to write. He’s doing some 1st grade material and some second grade. He reads on a second grade level. We also do alot of art and music….some science. I don’t really limit him….if he wants to learn something then we will learn it. We learn history and geography….social studies……most of the time it’s fun and I’m learning with him. I’m not good at exercise so he goes to Karate for that.
Michael just turned six. I started school early for my own sanity. I found out that Michael was very creative and curious…..without structure he became destructive lol. So if I didn’t want garlic poured in my couch again (he was cooking) then I needed to give him more to do than just playing. So I started Pre-K right when Michael turned 3.
We’ve been super blessed to have a great support group. I’ve been going to a homeschool group for about two years now. We go on field trips and do science and art projects together….we’ve had show and tell etc…. The kids play in a gym or on the playground together. It’s been great! My best bud Hannah goes to the group as well. Our kids are two peas in a pod 🙂
We try to keep involved in the community. Every other Monday Michael and I play Bingo at a nursing home. The elderly really love seeing a young face and Michael gets lots of hugs. Our homeschool group was helping at a woman’s shelter for awhile. It was awesome seeing all the kids clean the place up. Through homeschooling I have met a wide variety of moms: yellow, black, and white….Muslims, Mormons, Catholics, Buddhists, and others. Some moms use a certain curriculum..others are eclectic. We have vegans…people with 4 or 5 kids….some with just one….kids with handicaps. One mom friend has overcome cancer. We have been exposed to so many different people groups. I’ve met a few homeschool families through family theater…..they’re like the Vontraps lol…all talented actors/actresses. I had never met a Muslim in person until I began homeschooling. So don’t be fooled into thinking all homeschoolers are alike.
Anywho, my point is…. all of this does take work and planning. I don’t sit on my bottom eating Bon Bons all day. True, my son is at a point where he can do most of his schoolwork without my help but getting the work together and planning it all out can take hours. Then I have to make sure he’s keeping on track and ummm….not being destructive. Then there’s all the cleaning and cooking that doesn’t always get done in time….especially when little man is home making the messes constantly. Art projects are messy. So our house is really lived in ;)……..even with both of my guys helping with chores things tend to pile up. I am the manager you could say…..I make sure we have food, bills are paid, animals fed, and that we keep on schedule. I’m also trying to write a book…..yeah, this stay at home mom does work.
And I do get paid….not just in kisses & hugs. I get a roof over my head and food….if we can afford it a good movie and some chocolate lol. I’m not making a whole lot monetarily but what I have is enough. It’s rewarding to see my son become a well-rounded and Godly little man. It’s nice to hear “thank you” when I’ve cooked a good meal for my family. And I’m thankful my husband works outside the home so I don’t have to. I wouldn’t want to…I’ve found my calling and I’m happy.
God bless and remember The High King Lives!~Amber Dover
Cheese Danish recipe
Easy Cheese Danish (made by Amber Dover. Idea from food.com)
> Yield: 1 large cookie sheet
> * 3 packages crescent rolls
> * 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
> * 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
> * 1 cup sugar
> * 2 teaspoons vanilla
> * sugar
> * cinnamon
> Prep Time: 15 mins
> Total Time: 45 mins
> 1. 1 Unroll 2 pkgs.
> 2. 2 Crescent rolls onto a cookie sheet, pinch edges together.
> 3. 3 Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla; spread over rolls.
> 4. 4 Unroll crescent rolls cut into strips, lace on top of cream cheese mixture.
> 5. 5 Melt butter pour on top of crescent rolls.
> 6. 6 Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top.
> 7. 7 Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Hello, dear ones. Well, I’ve finally caught up on post. I still feel weak as a kitten but hopefully I’ll get a protein shake soon & restore my iron etc. Today’s post is not for young children. This is my soap box so hang on tight. This blog is purely informational so please no debates in the comment area. I’m not here to argue. Take my words or leave them…up to you ;). But hang on because at the end of this post I’m revealing a secret family recipe.
I’m enjoying a new blog: To Love, Honor, and Vacuum by Sheila Gregoire
She wrote “The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex” which I haven’t read. But her blog shows a healthy view of Sex, the way God mean’t for it to be.
Most of you, like me, have been subconsciously taught by the media & society that sex is this naughty and nasty thing. Alot of women believe that sex is just for perverted men who only think with their sexual organ. We’ve heard that men need sex and women need romance and that sex is just a means to getting love. It’s sad how many people believe this. Many are on the streets selling their bodies to survive or because they were abused (kidnapped etc) and made to feel that sex was the only reason they were created….that they are worthless. Many give themselves because they want love….only to feel emptier afterwards.
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I had a friend in Highschool who slept around. After she became a Christian I remember her telling me how hollow she felt….like she was just an object. It’s not just women though. I had a friend who was sexually abused by his father. It forever scarred him and distorted the way he sees men. He is now in the homosexual community and he has never learned how to embrace true masculinity. What he was taught as a child was sick and twisted. Children are bombarded with images of celebrities and models who have been airbrushed into make believe perfection. How can we compete? And those of us who are no longer virgins know the truth now. Sex is not like the movies. Romance is not like the movies.
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Women cannot compete with porn stars. By the way, if you read testimonies of ex-porn stars they share how fake porn is. How nasty it is and how many die of disease. It’s all done with cameras people. Real people DON’T have sex like that. If they tried they probably would end up in the hospital.
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(Pic of Taylor Swift without makeup. Go girl for being willing to be real!)
Men can not compete with fairy tale romance. I love fairy tales. I don’t believe it can ever be compared to porn because it doesn’t mess up the brain in a physical way like porn does (read the reblog I did about porn awhile ago: https://amberdover.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/552/ ). BUT real men are NOT like fairy tale princes. The ONLY perfect Prince that will come riding on a white horse is Jesus Christ and He is God. Other men are only human and their brains do not work like women’s brains. Truly women are like spaghetti and men are like waffles. Despite what the feminist may say, we ARE different. It is scientifically proven that our brains are wired in different ways.
(Pic at fall festival. Chris is William Wallace and I’m a random Vulcan or Romulan..Star Trek stuff)
So if all of this is fake then what’s real? Are we just in for a life of misery and failed expectations? Should we just put up with whatever we get? NO! Our marriages may not be perfect but they can be beautiful. If we just let God write our love stories & change our perspective we can actually enjoy this life. Marriage takes work. Anything worthwhile will require sacrifice.
God created sex to be beautiful and to be between a woman and man. Within the bonds of marriage sex transcends the physical…it becomes spiritual as well….forever meshing two souls into one. It can become healing. Maybe you’ve only ever been damaged by sex. Darlin’, that’s because you experienced the counterfeit of true sex. You got the cheap copy. I pray one day you will find a Godly spouse and learn how it’s supposed to be. Godly sex may even bring about a miracle: a beautiful child in the likeness of your soul mate. I have only experienced that once but man it took my breath away. That miracle is almost six years old now.
You see, sex was never mean’t to happen with multiple people or with images in a magazine. Sex was made for one woman and one man to enjoy their love. It was mean’t to unify a couple. The world has messed it up and now many people (esp religious people) believe sex is dirty and evil. Ummmm God made sexual organs for a reason. He gave women a certain spot that has no other purpose but to bring pleasure. Seriously, this spot does not help in procreation. It’s only purpose is for pleasure. There’s actually a whole book in the Bible that talks about sex: The Song of Solomon. Sex has become the elephant in the room in church. The world is giving out all the wrong information about sex but the church is too scared to address the issue. Thankfully more people are speaking out in the church. There are some great resources out there.
When I was a kid I encountered a form of sexual abuse. Few people know the details & most of my family would be surprised this ever happened to me. The experience screwed up my way of thinking about sexuality. I’m not about to give details on a blog. I’m saying this to say that I understand what the dark side can do to our perspectives. I still have issues that I have to give to God every day because of that experience.
When I turned 17 I decided that I was going to pray for my future husband and I began writing letters to him before I knew his name. I gave these letters to my husband on our wedding night. I pledged to keep myself pure and to wait for God to send me a Godly man. It was through that waiting that God sent me Chris and our story is beautiful, written by God’s hand. Chris and I were both virgins on our wedding night and it was amazing. I will never regret waiting. I just wish I had saved my first kiss for Chris as well.
You may think I’m crazy but I am a big advocate for not casually dating. I am all about courtship & preparing for marriage. Teens, if you’re not in it for marriage then don’t date. Enjoy your childhood. Save yourself for that forever someone. I dated alot before I made the commitment to be happily single (til God brought my husband). I regret dating because even though I remained pure, I still gave so much of my heart to people I will never see again. I wish I would’ve saved ALL of my heart for Chris alone. I wish I had enjoyed being single and being a kid! I mistakenly thought I needed a guy to complete me. I was seeking love in the wrong places. Yes, God blessed the broken road but learn from me….skip the broken road…go straight for the prize ;).
My parents divorced when I was little and my mom dated alot. I saw how those relationships broke her heart time and time again. Only God knows the best person for you because only God knows the future and a person’s heart. I challenge all you single folks to read “I kissed dating Goodbye”, “When God writes your Love story”, and “Say Hello to Courtship” (by the same guy who wrote I kissed dating goodbye).
You can dismiss me if you want but I’m telling you I’ve LIVED these lessons and I’ve watched others crash and burn. I’m 27 now but I remember those days very well. Kids thought I was weird “dating” God and all (meaning I was committed to focusing on God and not dating guys). But where are they now? How many hardships have they encountered because they chose the world’s way? (A ton) I didn’t fit in with the other kids. I didn’t go with the “flow” and Praise God cause the flow led to misery. Please don’t follow people off a cliff.
Anywho, those last couple of years in Highschool I decided that I needed to become a woman worth marrying if I expected to marry a Godly guy. I read tons of books on marriage and relationships. I reached out to younger girls and I was mentored by older women (some in their 40’s, one was in her 90’s). I volunteered in the community. I wanted to be my name sake, “Amber” (Jewel of Purity). Yes I was scarred from my past but God could transform me. I made mistakes and God forgave me. God picked me up & I kept going. When God brought Chris I prayed hard…..we even postponed our wedding to make sure it was God’s will.
I had never expected to marry a soldier. I thought I would go to Bible college or meet a missionary. God made it clear he wanted me to stay put & wait for my man. I prayed and prayed and fasted and prayed if Chris was truly the right one. I did not want to get involved unless I was sure. I even asked for signs. God made it clear through signs and the peace in my heart that Chris was the one. We prayed together. We set boundaries so we’d remain pure. Sometimes we broke boundaries & had to regroup, ask for forgiveness, and do our best to stay away from crossing the purity line. It was hard & thankfully Chris was gone alot for the army. God truly protected us.
Even if you’re not a Virgin, God can still give you something beautiful. He can heal your scars and transform you into a jewel of purity. You can wear white with your head held high. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve read of ex porn stars that gave their life to Christ and God filled their heart with innocence.
(Click on the pic to see it larger. Please don’t copy or steal my drawings. Thanks!)
I’ve dealt with abuse and I know how you just want to feel innocent again. The world wants to steal people’s innocence. There’s a reason I read kid’s book and watch kid’s tv shows…..the adult stuff is too full of lust. I WANT innocence. I want to see things from the eyes of a child. And I do. Sometimes I struggle but when I stay in God’s word He gives me new perspective. He restores my innocence over and over. Sex can be beautiful. Educate yourself about how it’s really supposed to be.
Okay I’ve taken up alot of your time. I want to issue a challenge to all the families out there or even couples: plan a family night once a week and avoid tv, the cell, and video games. Go for a walk or play board games. There are SO many things you can do that don’t involve electronics. So far our family nights have been eating at the table (sometimes with candlelight), Chris reading devotions, praying together, and then playing board games/cards/dominoes.
My hubby isn’t a big game person so we’re going to start mixing things up…maybe go to the park. This coming Monday the plan is to break out the guitar and sing together as a family. I’m hoping it works out. We’re a very musical family. When my health improves I’d like to go geocaching. It just sounds neat ;). ANywho, please leave me some comments and let me know how your family nights go. I’m open for ideas too :).
Ok, lastly here is the big reveal! This is the recipe to my Dad’s famous blue-ribbon pancakes! I just added it to our church cook book but for the most part it’s been kept in our family. These are SO yummy! My Dad was an excellent cook. He learned from the best. My great grandpa was a famous chef up in New York. He owned his own restaurant and cooked for a President and for astronauts. He taught my Dad everything he knew. I unfortunately didn’t learn as much. My Dad wanted me to learn all the measurements first and I rebelled. But I’m still a decent cook. Anywho, enjoy!
(Pic of my Daddy several months before he died)
Dad’s Blue Ribbon Pancakes by Jim Way 1962-2009 Ingredients: 2 Cups SR flour 2 tbsp sugar 2 eggs lightly beaten 1 1/2 cup milk 4 tbsp vegetable oil 2 tbsp maple syrup 2 tbsp honey
Directions: Preheat griddle to 350 degrees In large bowl, combine all ingredients stir until mixed well Beat for 30 seconds with wire whip Use 3/4 cup batter for each allowing plenty of space for them flip pancakes when bubbles cover the top and brown Note: for extra-light, tender, and fluffy pancakes turn before bubbles break and turn 1 time only. Serve with your favorite toppings. If thinning of batter is necessary, use water
Well, God bless and remember The High King Lives! ~Amber Dover
PS: Men you are mean’t to be heroes…warriors…princes. Women you are princesses….warrior princesses even….you are mean’t to be strong vessels of light. Don’t let the world tell you, you are anything less. Yes we are different. We were never mean’t to be exactly the same. But we all have purpose. We all have worth….just because we are. God loves his creation. He loves you…just as you are. Don’t become plastic….be yourself 🙂
Welcome! My name is Amber Dover. I am a homeschooling mom, happy wife, and a devout follower of Jesus Christ. I am also a writer. I am currently working on "The Truth Seeker's Chronicles" (an inspirational fantasy/allegory). You will find everything from craft ideas to writing tips on my blog. So please pull up a chair and hang out :)