Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Obedience verses Willfulness-and Flour and Oil

I keep sitting here staring at this computer screen, then down at the baby who is bouncing on my lap, then up at the birds outside the window, then over at the child asking how to say the words in his book. Mercy, no wonder I can't get my thoughts "together".  Oops, I was going to say "At least four babies are upstairs napping", when I heard "someone" jumping overhead...I'll be back in a sec...

I was just sitting down when above darlin' interrupted again..."Mom, some eggs broke". (Meaning he had been out to the chicken coop). I asked him how and how many. "Well, I tripped (pause while he counts on his fingers - oh dear), and only four brokeded".
I really do have something important on my mind...may be I am hesitant because I always struggle with writing well what is on my mind and in my heart. So, here goes.
I see women struggling with different areas of their lives, like ... should we adopt another child, should I give up my job to stay home, should I home school (are just a few)...and the reasons are as different and varied as each lady asking. I have received many questions ranging from respectful questions about how I do it all, to the more thoughtless ones like "what number is that one!" (to which I act stupid and say "Oh, this is our newest precious gift from the LORD, his name is Keshawn, and he is 1 year old, he has been home for 4 months now and he is doing wonderful. He even started walking this week.". 
For heaven's sakes, he is not a number, but a human being!!!! Sorry, side tracked)
I love talking to and encouraging others mothers as they seek to find and walk out God's call for their lives. 
Now, having said that, here is the heart of the matter. I was talking to the children about obedience verses willfulness, and the Bible story that we read today was in I Kings 17:8-16, about the widow who was using the last of her flour and oil to make one cake for herself and her son before they die. At this time there is a drought and no food. Many are dying from hunger.  This is when the prophet Elijah shows up in the story. (Please go read the whole story to refresh your memory). 
"And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.' And she went and did as Elijah said." 
I began talking with the children about this the widow chose to be obedient to the prophet, even though at the time, she could only see the handful of flour and a little oil. Common sense would have said "There isn't enough, there is no way this is going to work." Common sense could have said the prophet was crazy. Out of willfulness and fear, she could have just ignored him, and gone about with her original plan. But then she would have received nothing, especially not the miracle of provision. 
All three of our pregnancies were life threatening. We received more than a few worried and negative comments when we decided to become pregnant with number 3, but we knew the LORD had told US to,  so we did, and it was worse than the other two. However, looking back, I can tell you for sure that God was "pruning" some death from my life. We knew that we were suppose to home school, and at first, again, we received the worried and questioning comments and dealt with the critical ones. But again, home schooling has brought me more blessings and taught me so much, and yes, more pruning has been done...more death cut off. Well, you can imagine what 8 adoptions has brought our way...though now, we are just crazy and irresponsible to some, and to those who love us...well, we might still be a little crazy. And, wow, did some dead things scream going down with this one.
Here's the thing, Steve and I had prayed and felt that we knew what we were suppose to do. But...if you look at it through common sense we shouldn't have done any of it. We really only ever had a "handful of flour and a little oil". So, how were we going to make it work? First, I would have died if we had of had 11 children all at once. They came one at a time, and I grew with each of them. And as we trusted the LORD, they came at just the right time in our lives...the LORD knew!!! And home schooling - well, that's a funny one..I am dyslexic and did horrible in school (I mean, I was a complete "dummy" by all school standards). When we felt that the LORD wanted us to home school, so many of my negative emotions surfaced and I wondered how in the world I was going to teach ANY ONE, when I had been such a failure in school. I figured I could at least get us through 1st and 2nd grade, so we started on a journey that the LORD has used to heal so many of my wounded places. And then He gave me a dyslexic daughter. Oh, the joy of having someone who "get's me". Now my first born is 20, doing excellent in his college and I love home educating our children. It's not easy!!! But, I would never give it up. 
What I want to encourage others with is, you may look down and see only a "handful of flour and a little oil" and you just don't know if you can do what YOU FEEL the LORD has asked you to do. He's not asking you to do what I have done, or what someone else has done...He has an amazing adventure for YOU and He will show the way to you if you seek HIM and not the opinions of the world around you.  Next, as Elijah told the widow, do not fear, go and do it. If you do, you will see His provisions, if you don't, you will really be missing out on things that the LORD has for you. And also, DON'T BE AFRAID of the pruning. It can hurt some, but you really don't want those dead things clinging to you, and the LORD knows just what to do, trust him. The Bible says "...and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." John 15:2
One more word of encouragement..."for we walk by faith, not by sight" 2 Cor. 5:7. If we try to walk by what we can see, we will probably experience some form of "blindness".  So walk in the light and walk in faith. 
By the way, there were over 20 eggs broken in my garage...NOT 4! Kalyn cleaned that up for me, and Joeliana's new tea set was shattered, I cleaned that one up. I hope what I wrote is of encouragement to someone...this post was interrupted a lot and I'm not sure if my scattered thoughts every came together. Back up stairs...someone is calling. Loves to you all.


  1. I'm not a mom lol, BUT nevertheless this spoke to me. Especially the "handful of flour and a little oil" story & trusting His provision. Thanks!! :))It wasn't scattered.
    Love to you too, Shonni!!

  2. Love this - thank for the encouragement! Love you Shonnie!

  3. This is a beautiful post and I agree on so many levels....The pruning hurts but OH SO WORTH IT! Walking in faith too my friend!

  4. I think it was just beautiful...
    and I totally get it!

  5. One at a time and one day at a time, right?

    Thanks for the post that encouraged me to know that we aren't the only "crazy" ones.

  6. Hi Shonni
    You have no idea how much this post spoke to me. Thanks for sharing your heart
    Renata :)

  7. Excellent post! I so needed to be reminded again of some of these truths. Thanks for sharing!
    Much love!

  8. Shonni,

    Thank you for the encouragement!! You are so right, when God has called YOU to do something, He will provide it ALL in His timing, according to His purpose. No matter what the nay-sayers say, God is faithful!

    Needing this through this adoption journey!!

    I would recommend "The Autobiography of George Muller" to all that haven't read it. It is a true story of faith, fervent prayer, and God's great provision!


  9. And I love that His mercies are new every morning. That's a great comfort to me when I feel overwhelmed with whatever is on my plate.

  10. Shonni,

    You are right, and I totally understand. A little flour and oil is like God using our weaknesses to glorify His strength. He is amazing.

    Thank you!

  11. Wonderful encouragement! Faith is seeing with spiritual eyes, not physical eyes! He will lead. All that we need to do is to see Him and to follow!


  12. Oh, Shonni,
    Thank you..... your words are so true and filled with God's truth.... He is our strength, our provider, our hope, our refuge..... when we allow Him to pour us out.... He just keeps pouring more into us... we are overflowing and it is a wonderful and miraculous thing.
    When He calls us to something, and we say,"Yes, Lord." He is oh, so faithful to provide and equip us to accomplish what He sets before us and we are the ones who end up being blessed.
    You my dear are such a joy and a blessing... a precious gift from God to me...
    God bless you and your family sister,

  13. If ye be willing and obedient , ye shall eat the good of the land. Is 1:19

    Alright, so I usually don't spend much time on the longer blog posts - just don't have the time - usually. For some reason, I just kept reading. I am indeed encouraged. We are doing the 'pre-field' work (whatever that brings us) for Haiti. We know that this is where God wants our family to be next, but inadequacies abound. Starting an orphanage - some days I can barely make it with our own two! I look at the flour and oil that I have and wonder WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOD THINKING?!?!?

    Thanks for the great word!

    Keep us in your prayers,

  14. Shonni, this spoke to me so so much. I had such a rough morning with homeschooling my daughter...... I have put myself through the paces today, that's for sure! I needed to be reminded that I'm doing this because God told me to! And to see with spiritual eyes, not earthly eyes. Thank you friend, I think you are just amazing. :) xo

  15. You did a great job!

    So true and I have gone through that pruning in many ways over the last five years - 7 adoptions and homeschooling five children now.

    Hugs and much love!

  16. Beautiful post. I especially relate to the "we are just crazy and irresponsible to some". Two people in particular weren't too happy when we said we were adopting a chid with DS; they got downright confrontational about it when we also announced we are bringing home another, this one with CP. They say they wouldn't be able to take that "risk", that we do things more "riskier" then they do. What stings the most, is that they feel the "risks" we are taking are to our current children; so not the way we see it; so not the way God sees it. I'm blessed that I can go to the many blogs such as yours I keep up with to remind me to stand firm in doing what we believe is His will for our family and these children. Blessings, Jennifer

  17. Your thoughts came together perfectly...what an AWESOME encouragement to me. I read this during a break at work, and I totally was tearing up. Oh dear, how the Lord is using you. I need to go write down the scriptures you mentioned so I can "simmer"on it for a while. THANK YOU, Shonni.

  18. Thank you for the reminder to seek MY adventure from Him. I needed that today ~ more than you know...

  19. Hi Shonni, even with all those distractions you really shared some amazing stuff. Thank you for taking the time to share what was on your heart.

    Going forward in faith and not sight even with just a little flour and oil is what i needed to hear tonight.

    It's scary thinking about taking my little ones over seas to work on the missionfield. I don't feel like i have much to offer and i feel so weak but we know this is what God wants us to do.

    God bless you!

  20. Great post, Shonni!

    I've often heard, "I just don't have the patience for a large family." My response, "I think I prayed for patience once and the Lord gave me a dozen children to teach me how to be more patient." It's not like I got "lucky" and was born patient.

    As you said, most of our children came one at a time. Maybe close together, but one at a time (beside the 1 set of twins). I wasn't the same Mama 26 years ago when my first was born. I have grown. The Lord has pruned me.

    Each child has brought with them their own set of challenges. Each set of challenges brings with it its own growth for Mama and Papa.

    Hope your Mother's Day is BLESSED ... with all of your BLESSINGS!



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