Friday, November 18, 2011

A Thankful Heart...

Many of my friends are doing the 30 days of things they are thankful for. I thought about doing it but couldn't commit and knew odds were good that I would get behind and not feel good about not being thankful enough. So I thought a blog about things I've been thankful for this year would be more up my alley. A 1 time shot at rambling in the very early hrs., sitting beside a fire, with everyone in the house asleep - would work better for me. Also I sucked at birthday blogs this year so let's call this your birthday blogs kids, K?

I like to think that I'm a very thankful person. I figure I have a Savior, a family, a healthy family, a roof over my head & food in my kitchen - what on God's green earth do I have NOT to be thankful for?? I also like to brag on God and I know He likes to relive with me all the amazing things He's done over this last year. He tells us to remind Him... So, here's to bragging on the Father & finding the things that should overshadow the not so fun things.

This year has been wonderful & odd, all in the same minute. Ray has had a blessed year at work after a not so great couple years. He's still just amazing in EVERY way!! This time next year my guy will hit the big 5-0 and he'll be the cutest darn 50 year old to boot!! 3 mths after his b'day we will celebrate 30 YEARS so get ready for those 2 celebrations!! We together have done a lot of the big "P", parenting. He's the best partner in crime I could ever wish for!! The rock of our family who leads like a gentle giant. I love him & I could NEVER in a trillion-bazillion lifetimes express to the Lord how grateful I am for my precious husband!!
I don't like to talk about myself so I won't but I've been a Mother-in-love for a little over a year & I certainly LOVE that hat - you'd have to ask my new son what my grade is but I think I've passed with flying colors. Ray & I haven't hassled them too many times to be the 2 that have our 1st grandbaby... I've loved another year of being a wife, Mother, daughter...

Rachel is amazing as always! She has a job that she loves & we like to call her job...ministry, because she doesn't make a 10th of what she's worth. Rach has this extraordinary way about her - it's called selfless, unconditional, caring, kind, thoughtful, encouraging, LOVE, for every person that the Lord brings to her. This last year she is growing in ways, I swear took me till I was 45 (last year). THANKFUL for our eldest!! She is such a precious lady. She is waiting so patiently for her guy to find her & she is using her singleness for the Lord's glory!! Because Rach is so dang smart, she lives at home so she can travel the world! This Spring she took a trip to Israel for the 3rd time and late this Summer she took a trip to Ireland. She is already planning her adventures for next year to go visit her bestie Megan in Amman Jordan. She has missed her best friend since she moved this Summer but the Lord has been SOOO faithful to bring more covenant friends to her. I love the place she's in! I love more then anything to hear the wisdom that comes flowing out of her. She walks in so many gifts! She's a prayer warrior, discerning, she makes herself available to be a vessel for the Lord to speak through, she is SOOO wise beyond her years. Rach is undoubtedly the 1st born & I'm so very thankful that the Lord picked her to lead the troops!!

Ms. Sarah is an absolute delight!! She left us for 8 mths to live on her own with her bestie but she couldn't stay away for long -- no, she moved back home because she loves traveling & buying books & buying shoes & buying music equipment and MOST of all the girl LOVES to give her money away when the Lord leads her. She has travelled to NYC twice and Europe and many other states in the last year. She too is waiting for her prince but totally enjoying the wait. She serves at her church with her incredible gift of worship & oh how she makes her Momma and Daddy proud!!! Lots & lots & lots of changing in my little 5'4, tiny FIRECRACKER!! Her selfless love walk has been a miracle to watch this last year. I don't have a font big enough to show you how THANKFUL I am for the transformation that the Lord has walked her through!!! YIPPEE!! Man it's so hard not to brag but the girl is crazy awesome (she'll so hate I just said that, ha). I seriously don't know how I got the honor of being her Momma or Rachel's or ANY of them. OK. Anyway, this has been an incredible year of growth from the inside, OUT for my 2 eldest & I seriously can't be thankful enough to the Lord for all He's done in them both.
OK, moving on!!

I'll cover Austin & Hannah together since they're 1, right? Well, I just wrote their anniversary blog so you could go read that but of course I can think of lots more then what I wrote 2 wks ago. 1st of all they are THE MOST beautiful couple. Won't they make GORGEOUS babies?? --ssshh, I don't want to ever be the pushy Mom! Ummm, I love being around these 2. I love, love, love how they love each other. It's amazing to see your child love her husband the way you love your husband (mine). Those 2 are learning the art of marriage quite well. Austin has had a BIG change in his job - he is the worship leader at Life Church in Ft. Worth. He loves his job & we love to have him lead us in worship every weekend. He's an amazing worshipper & we are SOOOO thankful that the Lord picked our family to plop him in the middle of. He still likes hanging out with us so I think he's happy with his other family. It's amazing to me every single day that the Lord had him picked out to be in our family for his whole life. He's been a perfect 1st son-in-love!! Hannah is here at her old home a bunch!! Not because she can't transition out because she did that beautifully but she does some work for me & she likes to hang out here as much as she can...she also likes the food in our frig, the clothes in her little sisters closet & her Grandma. She comes in & it's like she never moved out and we LOVE it that way!! I love my Nan-tucket! Her job is also a mission field & she loves having babies to love on. I can hardly wait to see her be a Momma!! The talks we've had in these last 12 mths. have been talks I dreamed of having with my adult daughters when they were infants. I know I was quite ahead of myself but I did, sue me. She has been the perfect daughter to get married 1st because I think the next 1 will benefit from our "talks". Love her, thankful for her, she is pure joy to me!! Proud of our Benjamins and beyond thankful for them!!

Oh my little blonde beauty, Olivia! What can I say new about this lady? She's had lots & lots of God moments this last year. Lots of trusting the Lord & lots of growing up in the things of God -- and she has floored us beyond words!! She had her heart broke this year but came out on the other side with a precious new understanding of the grace & mercy of Jesus. I could go on & on about her maturity & her grace through her yucky times this year. That girl can trust God for her life/future like no other 19 year old I've ever known! She also had wonderful times this year and showed us all what we already knew, she rocked at being an incredible gf!! She is still our resident peacemaker, confidant, witty, happy-go-luck, selfless/servant!! Her sister Sarah wrote the most precious birthday blog (ck out Sarah's blog, she's an amazing writer, for her this past August and she put it perfectly, she said, -- She’s been a rock at different times for everyone in my family and she has this great ability to be exactly what you need when you need it. -- Just like the rest of them I am soooo thankful to be her Momma. I don't know what life would look like without her in it. She actually had many adventures this year. She too went to Ireland with her big sister & bonus brother Coty. She travelled to California w/ Hannah & then to Seattle to see her friend Casey. Lots of wonderful, wonderful memories that the Lord helped to heal over the not so good ones. She is getting ready to embark on a BIG year - starting hair school. I can't even imagine how great she's gonna be at that. People are so drawn to her so I know that the Lord will use her in a MIGHTY way at school & in her career. Tough year that she probably wouldn't want to ever repeat but SOOO much growth that ya can't learn in a book!!

My ace #1 son!! Mr. Grant! My baby who ain't such a baby no more. He's about 3 inches from being as tall as his sister Sarah! So super sad he's growing up so fast. He is crazily in his last year of elementary - my big 6th grader. Can it be that he's in the same grade that I was when I began my crush on Ray?? DO AS I SAY, not as I do... Well Grant has had a wonderful year. He's got a brother and that makes him quite happy. Grant loves, loves, loves Austin & after having a talk with him the other day he is even thinking about being super excited about the other 3 "sisters" having boyfriends & then husbands. Grant is beyond words, in love with every stinkin sport imaginable. If you know Austin you know he LOVES sports so I wonder why Grant is slightly/majorly obsessed? Yes, Austin is the reason! Grant has been learning balance with his love of everything sporty. I don't believe it's at all necessary for him to know soooo many stats, unless he can give me stats on things that REALLy matter. The whole raising a boy thing is still new to us but by cracky we will raise a MAN that puts the Lord 1st & his family next - the Rangers or the Cowboys or the Longhorns, don't get 1st or 2nd place (or 3rd). I know he's a young boy but habits start NOW and I can't wait till he's grown to teach him.
Grant is doing exceptionally well in 6 grade. Straight A's so far so I couldn't be happier. He is still the most lovable little boy. He is madly in love with his sisters & has grown out of the semi-annoying stage he went through. Thankfully it didn't last long! He hung the moon in their eyes so that makes me very happy. Grandma is still his buddy & he still spends a bunch of time in her room. I love having a son. He is funny & sweet & chatty & brilliant & kind & he's got amazing manners, he's sososo respectful and I get to be his Mom!! THANKFUL again!! How on earth do I deserve to be their Mom?? I'm seriously going to take God aside when I get to heaven & ask Him how did I get picked to have 5 incredible people to parent! And a husband that's amazing!! This lady is beyond THANKFUL!! The Lord gets ALL, every single solitary bit of credit for how amazing they all are. I am nothing without Him & I certainly can't do anything without Him. I'm humble that I get to walk through life with them.

Next time, since this got LONG (shocker) - I want to write about some of the other INCREDIBLE people that I'm soooo thankful for. I'll end this with some powerful words that are life & truth - Psalm 7:17 I will thank the Lord because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. There is no other way to be in life but THANKFUL!! Thanksgiving time makes us reflect on what we probably should have been thinking about daily through the year. There ain't time in this lifetime to be ungrateful or complain. His word says, Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18. FIND the good and be thankful. I'm telling you the more you SPEAK out your mouth the other, the more miserable you'll be. So go hug the 1's you love. Don't take 1 sec. with them fore granted!! Tell your loved 1's, I love you, every single day! A grateful heart is all a child of the most high, should have!! If you've lasted through this long novel, thank you. I pray it will spur something inside of you to go brag to God about ALL the blessings He's given you. Have a BLESSED Thanksgiving week & a wonderful holiday season! I love you all!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ray's last year in the 40's...

This is a blog that we all wrote 2 years ago (Grant wanted to revise his, ha). I couldn't say it any better and I thought it is worth reading and reposting. I'm so grateful to be celebrating another wonderful year with you!! I love you so much and 15 cheers for mid-life - I wouldn't want to go through it with anyone else but YOU!!!! RAH, RAH!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAY!!! This is a birthday gift to YOU!!! All of your kiddos and some other special people in your life wrote some birthday wishes, just for YOU!! So enjoy these thoughts and words, telling you how very special you are to each of us!!


~Happy Birthday Dad~

So Today is the day of your birth. The day that you came into this world, 47 years ago. Then 22 1/2 years after your birth you had your 1st and favorite daughter come into this world. I had the great privilege of making you a Daddy! Oh the Joy of being your 1st born and your favorite,

(the 1st will ALWAYS be a parents favorite).

That day on May 10th I was given a very special gift from the Lord, an Amazing Daddy like you. You thought you were getting a blessing but it was me that got blessed that day.

You truly are my Hero! You have taught me how to live my life as a servant and to try and be 100% selfless at all times. You are truly one of the most amazing examples of the Love of Yeshua. It just pours out of you, all the time. There is a huge long list of things I know how to do in life, just because of you. I’m so grateful to be able to call you Dad! I Pray and Dream that 1 day Yeshua would be able to give me a man to call my husband that will have character like you - who will be funny like you - who is extra good looking (like you) - who will be able to cook like you -who will love me like you love Mom - who will be an amazing Father to all my kids like you are to us - who will be able to provide for a family even if it take 3 jobs to do so - who will be able to share the kingdom of God and be a light to this world. I pray everyday that my husband will be like my amazing Father - he has BIG shoes to fill! I love you so very much Dad, you truly mean the world to me and I’m so grateful to be your 1stborn. I pray that this year will be everything that your heart desires.

Have a Happy 47th Birthday Daddy!! Rachel



I don’t even know where to begin, really… Today is a day that I feel very grateful, because I have a Dad. While there are plenty of people out there that desire to have a father and may never have had one - or the opportunity to have the influence that only a father can bring - today, i am grateful for you and your daily influence - and the impact you have on me and my life.

You’ve been such a great Shepherd and provider for our family. Always doing whatever it takes to make sure everyone was as happy as possible.

You are a man that I admire on both sides of the coin. You’re an amazing Dad that always made us feel beautiful, respected, covered, cherished, valuable and worthy of all of those things.

Then on the other side, you’re a great husband, friend, employee, and father. Most importantly you have and continue to make Jesus the center of everything our family stands for and desires.

I couldn’t have asked for someone that was more reputable, more experienced, or above all, more kind and loving… you’ve always surpassed it all.

I love you so much and I am so proud to be loved by you.

You truly are a kiss from God just for us!

Love you,



What an
amazing Daddy I have -- My Daddy, always the guy that would get the boogie man out of my room - not like normal Dads, but calling fire down from heaven. The kind of Dad that would sleep with me and Liv in the tiniest tent on our back patio (concrete) so that we wouldn't be scared, then get up and go to work. A Dad that would coach me in softball and encourage me to be the best shortstop ever. Those are only a few things that make you so wonderful. I don't feel deserving of a lot of the things you do for me. After a long day working you will still do whatever our family asks of you. Whether it's fixing the toilet, fixing our cars, taking us out on dates, making us dinner - even down to running to the store to get us tampons (ha, I know that will get ya). Your motto - whatever it takes. I will also always remember going to your side of the bed and whispering 1 word and you jumping to whatever I needed. I'm 18 and you will still stay up all through the night when I am sick. You are everything that the word Daddy means. You truly are the most amazing Daddy in the world.

I ALWAYS know that I have you praying for me and wanting the BEST for me. From my 1st memories as a young girl you began to build up in me a confidence of WHO I AM in Jesus. You have always told me beautiful and I'm so thankful for that because YOU are the reason us girls never needed to be affirmed by a guy - because we have an amazing Daddy who built us up. If it wasn't for you I would have tried to find and seek those things out in a guy. Now I have kept everything for my husband and a lot of that, I have you to thank. I KNOW what I deserve in a man because I have you as an example. You treat Mom like GOLD, you have shown us girls what real, Godly men are and I just want to Thank YOU for that. I could really go on and on about how amazing you are and how thankful I am for you. So I will just end with this - Thank you for being the most selfless man in the whole wide world. For always putting Jesus 1st and then our family. Thank you for loving my Momma. Thank you for never being to busy to be OUR Daddy.Thank you for making us feel like we were the most important people to you in this whole world. Thank You for being such a hard worker.

Remember this - I will always run out to give you a hug when I see that you have pulled up to the house. I know I don't say it often, and I know I am not at home as much as I was before being a grownup but I will always be your little girl - I willALWAYS remember who my 1st guy was. Happy Birthday Daddy, I love you more then the very last number, Nan



Today is your 47th birthday and you are basically an old man now. I hope and pray that this is one of the best years ever. I know that 1992 was a great year for you because your precious blonde haired 4th daughter came into this world. But I really sense and believe that the Lord has great things for you this year.

Here are 47 reasons why I think that.

1. You have a heart of gold.

2. I have never in my life been around someone more selfless then YOU.

3. You believe in me and in my destiny in Jesus.

4. You have always spoke life to us kids - always spoke blessings over us.

5. You are the cheesiest person I know and very witty with your jokes.

6. You are a man after God's own heart.

7. You are such a hard worker. You provide and make money for me to live in a nice house.

8. You are the most kind hearted of all. A reflection of the Father.

9. You want nothing more then me (our family) to be happy.

10. You were and are the best traveling buddy.

11. I have straight and white teeth because I look just like you.

12. You are a servant of all.

13. I am who I am today because of the example you are to me.

14. Nobody can make me cry like you can.

15. I’m proud to call you my Pops.

16. You are NEVER too busy for our family. You come whenever we need you.

17. I love that I can call you dude and bro.

18. You are the best at giving high fives.

19. You were and are the best coach.

20. I love your heart for people. People are drawn to your kind heart.

21. You are a perfect example of a gentlemen.

22. Every man should want to be just like you.

23. All my friends should be jealous at how cool MY dad is.

24. You always pray for us kids.

25. You always find something encouraging to say when I’m feeling blue.

26. You can make a song out of ANY word that comes out of your mouth.

27. You always show us our worth is in Jesus.

28. I love seeing your desire for your work place to be saved.

29. I love that I am your favorite blonde daughter.

30. You are silly and SO REAL.

31. I love your pursuit for the kingdom of God.

32. I love that you can’t spell.

33. I love that you could talk to the wall. But I love that you are such a good listener.

34. You always speak your mind with a gentle, soft word.

35. You are the biggest giver I know.

36. Even in rough times you find the good in what’s going on. "economy"

37. Your ability to make me smile, amazes me.

38. You always put our family first.

39. You are the best leader of our family. I am proud to follow you. You lead us by the great example that you are.

40. You are getting older… and wiser.

41. Along with being the MOST selfless man, you are SO HUMBLE.

42. You have great scruff.

43. Even when I am stupid, you still cheer me on. You always pick me up when I fall.

44. You have the most willing heart to serve God and our family.

45. You always have the right things to say. Thanks for hiding the word of God in your heart.

46. When that special guy finds me & if he is half as amazing as you, i'd consider myself a lucky lady. But I'm sure you'd never let me settle for anyone that was 1/2 anything.

47. You make me the luckiest girl in the world to have a Daddy like YOU!!! If you were anybody else's Daddy, I would be SO JEALOUS!

These are in no special order, but these are just a few reasons why you deserve to have an amazing year. I love you SO, SO, SO much and I’m so grateful that I get to be your daughter. Thank you for loving Jesus and being a near perfect reflection of Him for us to see. Thank you so much for always making me feel special,

I LOVE YOU THE MOST! Happy Birthday Dad! Liv





C-od blops





E-ven grandma loves you

S-orry for the crappy message





R....... and ummmm one to grow on

You're the best Dad ever, love you so much.

Happy Birthday


Happy Birthday!! I hope you have many, many more with each one being better than the one before! God bless you always with peace, joy, good health, prosperity and every other good thing He can think of! Googols of Love! XOXO Mom

FROM MEGAN -- (she is representing all your children that don't share your DNA but are your KIDS)

There are many things in life that I'm grateful for-my fam, being black, life, steak, get the drill. One of the many things I'm grateful for is having a man of God like you in my life. Obviously, I didn't have the chance to have much of a father figure (put your tiny hand in mine) growing up. The Lord knew just what I needed when he placed you in my life.
You're such an awesome dad and I hope that my babies will adore their dad as much as all your kids adore you. Thanks for taking in all of us orphan kids and making us feel like one of your own.
I hope that this is a great year full of the presence of the Lord in every area.
Have a super awesome birthday, Pops!
I love you!!! Megan


What can I say that I haven't said a million-trillion times?? Of course I can say it all over again and MORE. So, I will just follow my heart and write. I have such a thankful heart today. I woke up feeling such gratitude to the Lord for you. I love that our daughters can read my thoughts because someday, I pray they will have some of the same thoughts for their guy. I love that our son can read this because he will have Jesus and a living example in you - to strive to be like. In reading what our children wrote, they all said so much of the same thing. What a blessing you are to all of us.

I thank God for the man you are. I celebrate your life by telling you that you are such a precious gift to everyone that is in your life. I will try not to repeat things I have said before but I truly don't know what I did to receive such a precious gift. Your life that you have lived is such a testimony of God's faithfulness. He showers down love to you through His son Jesus and then through our children and myself. I love walking this journey out with you. You truly are my BFF. I thank you for your leadership in our family. I know it ain't easy but you do it with the confidence of 10,000. Thank you for loving me and reflecting Jesus in your eyes, hands & words. What a gentle man you are.

I think as we hit the years past 40 (not that we are old), we begin to think of what we are going to leave here on earth. Material things have never mattered much to us but ETERNAL things are what we have strived for, every day. Your selfless LOVE that only can come from the heart of GOD, your MANY prayers that have been prayed, your servants heart that lays down his life for me & our family, your unwavering love for the Lord that makes us all run this race with you, your wisdom that will be passed down for GENERATIONS to come in our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, & so on. Those are just a few of the things that these 47 years represent!! I thank God that you were born - I will spend eternity thanking Him for letting me spend my life with YOU!! Happy Birthday my Husband! I love you!!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

HAPPY 1st ANNIVERSARY, Austin and Hannah!!!

365 days ago was 1 of the biggest days that our family has experienced, so far!

The week leading up to this day 1 year ago was full of exciting moments. Our whole entire BIG family began the tasks of putting on a celebration for 1 of our own. If I've ever experienced selfless, it was this particular week. People taking off work, time away from their families - to make a couples dream-day, come true! It was Hannah's WEDDING week and ALL hands were in! We had jobs to complete and last special moments with Hannah as a Baker to be had. Everything got done to perfection and boy oh boy did we have those special moments. The wedding was the most magical day, it was truly perfect & beautiful in ever single way. The ceremony was full of Jesus, just like the bride & groom wanted. The celebration after was FUN and we all sent them off to begin their life!!

So today is the very 1st Wedding Anniversary for Austin and Hannah Benjamin. MY very most favorite couple in the whole entire world!! I seriously can't believe it's already been a complete year. It seems like yesterday that we were in the middle of that wedding week. All this week, everyone in our family has reminisced about what we were doing on that particular Tuesday, 1 year ago or on that Thursday... It was the most exciting time in our family that we all 7 got to experience together. We came together like a team that had a mission. We all had our own duties to complete and we all did them with the most love and care humanly possible. Ms. Hannah was in the middle of emotions that she couldn't control, some of the time. Leaving her family to begin her own little family was tough in some ways but as natural as breathing to this lil' lady that was called from the beginning of time to be Austin's helpmate!

1 thing Ms Hannah did since I could remember was pray for her husband. We didn't encourage our girls to daydream to often about that part of their future because it could bring on emotions that would get them stuck in that time and they'd forget that the season they were in, was important in it's own right. But Hannah was a little girl that we knew was destined to be a wife and Mother. Everything about her was nurturing, loving, selfless and maternal. Ray and I have always known that each of our girls would be incredible wives 1 day and Hannah was no exception. Now to see her be that incredible, wonderful little wife - brings so much joy to our hearts!!! I seriously could not be any prouder of her this last year. She transitioned into being even a better wife then I could have ever imagined. Ok, the cooking has room for improvement but other then that she has been a million times better of a wife then I could have ever even dreamed of being 29 years ago. Even though this year has had it's challenges, their love has grown them so closely knitted together! I've loved having a "married daughter!" She and I have had many talks this year and our relationship has taken on a new closeness that I knew would happen but it's even so much better then I could have imagined. I'm so super grateful to God that my kids feel comfortable to talk to us about pretty much anything and this year has brought so many AHHH moments for me. The leaning on the Lord that I've seen in both of them, the trust in the Lord for the smallest things, the growing together - has been even better then I could have EVER hoped for.

And the newest member of our family - my son that I didn't have to carry, labor or deliver (that's the best kind) - Austin! Ray and I couldn't be any more prouder of him if we tried. He has blown us away in ever way!! We could for sure be his biggest fans - behind his parents & his bride but we love how he loves HIS Hannah. He has LOVED and taken care of our girl and we couldn't ask for anything more. All of us loved him so much before they even married but our love for him has grown even stronger. Seeing this young man develop into the married man that he is now - has been nothing short of a miracle. He's a living testimony of the humility of Jesus and wanting so much to honor the Lord in his life, that he has set aside his own LIFE, for someone else.

I honor this precious couple today - on their VERY special 1st Wedding Anniversary!! We look forward to many, many, many years of sharing life with them!! SOOOO grateful to God for both of them!! They bless our family in so many ways and we can't wait to see what the future holds... Our prayer would be that they would continue every day to yield to the voice of the Lord, to become more and more selfless to each other, to see the good in each other and cover the other's flaws with love, that the Lord would be so evident in their lives that people would be drawn to Jesus. I thank God for their precious marriage and for the Benjamin family!!!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY and here's to another 50 years as Husband and Wife!!!

1 year ago...on that special night!!
And now...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My journey with fear...

Lots going on at the Baker house. Well, in the last 11 days I've sent 3 daughters & 2 bonus daughters across the world and almost all have gone in different directions. Rachel and Olivia have been in Ireland touring for 15 days, ALL over that country. Sarah and Meshali left for Europe for 12 days, Shay had a wedding to shoot & then they were going to tour - Belgium, Paris & Amsterdam are their stops. Then Sunday we sent off Megan to Israel where she will begin living & serving the people there, bringing Jesus to a nation that's in desperate need of Him. So in the last 11 days we've made 3 trips to the airport & sent off our precious girls, 1/2 way around the world. The traveling isn't too rare to happen in our home because they've all been bit by the traveling bug. They've gone numerous places overseas in the last 8 years but to send so many of them at 1 time, is rare. In the wee hours of Monday morning as I woke up through the night waiting to hear that Megan was safe in Israel, the Lord began to remind me of how far this Momma has come. I spent some time praising Him for His peace that passes ALL human understanding and thanking Him for guiding me along my journey of being a Mom. I pray I'm continually reminded of the victories in my life and how far He's brought me - but oh, how far I still have to go. It's ALLL because of Him and I take NO credit for this testimony. IN Him is the only way I can trust, IN Him is the only way I can have faith and IN Him is the ONLY way I can have peace!

So I thought I'd write down, mostly for my girls 1 day to look back at, but write down this crazy journey of fear/worry that had such a hold on my heart & mind, for so many years. Believe it or not this will be a condensed version but I pray my story may help someone. I wrote the above and after I share with you where I've been, you'll be able to see what a true victory the above is for me. Right off I'd like to share that I still have battles almost daily. I have to make a choice to not believe lies that try to torment me. So now, PRAISE GOD, I deal with fear in a much different way.

It all began around 18 years ago. Ray & I were out on our porch in our old house. We were starting the painting process on our house so we were prepping the outside. We had the 4 girls at the time, Rach was 8, Sarah was 6, Hannah was 2 and Olivia was 1. We lived out in the country in a community that had 4 streets & those streets were surrounded by land/woods. We knew almost everyone in the neighborhood & we all looked after each others kiddos. At this time the older girls were playing somewhere around our house, out of our sight. It wasn't rare for them to play between our house & a couple of immediate houses around us. Hannah & Olivia were near Ray & I but in this specific insistence I couldn't lay my eyes on them. The street we lived on got NO traffic other then traffic of homeowners and all of us went down the street at a snails pace because we knew to look out for kids. So at this time I couldn't see any of my 4 girls when I got this horrible phone call from someone in our family. The news was something that nobody ever wants to hear. I won't go into any detail but it was regarding 2 girls that weren't but a couple years older then Rachel. It was violent and would change their lives forever. Little did I know, my way of Mothering would change in that moment too. I was the 1 talking on the phone and Ray was coming down the ladder and after comforting the person on the phone & praying with them I looked at Ray with terror and said, "go find the girls"!! For the next 10 years I would parent in a way that had me usually tormented every day. I parented almost always in fear...

Something that I've learned since is that when trauma comes into our lives a spirit of fear (& yes, I do believe it's a spirit) is always there ready to attach itself. If it's a death, bad news, a car accident, a nightmare - anytime trauma comes, fear is ready to torment you. I didn't realize until years later but I began to do 1 of the most destructive things & that is, to parent out of fear. Fear was almost always what guided me. You name it I would attach fear to it. Now I don't want you to misunderstand fear, and using God given wisdom because I sooo believe in using wisdom. I would never tell a Mom, "oh, just let your kids do just about anything because the Lord will watch over them" - I believe in being wise with our gifts that God has given us. But whenever I was given a scenario of somewhere my kids wanted to go, someone they were go with, the place, the people, the weather - EVERYTHING was ran through my head with fear at the forefront. I can now say that because after 10 years of living like this the Lord began to deliver me from that and I now live in victory, so I do know the difference.

My fear/worry didn't just begin with that 1 incident. I was from a line of worriers. It was a generational curse that was being passed down and I was the lovely recipient of it. I know there are people that wear a "worry badge" with lots of pride but I wasn't 1 of them. I knew the word of God enough to know that it was a sin and I was stubborn enough to want to be free! But in this case I did wear this "wisdom badge" but in reality it was a FEAR/worry badge. I would always tell Ray that I was just using wisdom as he so graciously would try to appease me and my craziness. There were times as head of the house that he would step in and talk sense into me and it would sometimes work but the fear would come right back. So I would shelter my girls like a Momma bird shelters her chicks. Eventually the worst thing began to happen right before my eyes - I was passing on that fear to my girls. Rachel began to battle fears and I would see that in her & it would break my heart. Sarah was more like Ray & you couldn't make her afraid of anything and it wasn't until later that it showed up in her. Hannah battled fears in a HUGE way and has a testimony of her own. Olivia, well you couldn't get her to fear anything and she's still the most easygoing of them all. I pray that I dealt with it quick enough in my life so it won't ever effect her. So began another generation of women being motivated and tormented by fear/worry.

The fear I battled with was fairly specific, well maybe not. It really was anything that stood in the way of keeping myself, Ray or my kids safe. I wanted to keep them safe - spirit, soul and body. It wasn't just about keeping them safe from harm, it was keeping them safe spiritually too. I can't say all of it was wrong, no way. They are 4 amazing women. I'm grateful that I had enough wisdom to make decisions that were Godly. Of course every decision I made as a Mother, didn't have to do with their safety. My battle was mostly in my mind. I would try so hard to not let them see the torment I was in but it was clear when I made some decisions, that they were based in fear. I'd have to say the majority of time I would let them do the things that I was fearful of and I would just be afraid. I was fearful of them spending the night with anyone other then my sisters, fear of anyone they drove in a car with, fear of the places they would go if I wasn't with them, fear of going really anywhere out of my sight, fear of friends that had older brothers and the list goes on & on.

So Ms. Sarah hits 16 years old & she's done with homeschooling. We're figuring out what to do next with her and through her youth pastor at the time (Adam McCain), he goes to someone that he knows at CFNI and gets her in to that Bible school. She isn't even 16 yet. She begins in the Winter after she turns 16 late the next Summer. So, my precious #2 daughter gets her drivers license 1 mth and 4 mths later she is driving to Oakcliff 5 days a week. She's a good driver but I'm fearful of every person she drives by on the highway, HA! She makes the praise band her 1st semester so she leaves when it's dark, very early. She drives by some pretty bad neighborhoods and I'm faced with my most horrible fear!! She literally has to park her car in a parking lot where the ghetto is all around. And did I mention she's cute & little - not a tough girl (or she doesn't look like it on the outside). So everyday I get up and pray. I pray & release every angel in the area to watch over her. I plead the blood of Jesus over her & put a hedge of protection around her - I still do that everyday over my kids. But everyday I am working this faith muscle and trying so hard to be brave when I see her out the door. Then comes that next Summer. She's been at CFNI for about 6 mths and I'm getting better. I begin to measure my small victories. Some days she would forget to call when she got there and I wouldn't call out the Dallas police to go find her - small VICTORY!!

Then my world was rocked when Sarah comes to Ray & I and tells us she needs/wants to go on a mission trip that Summer. Huh? Your 16 and I'm not gonna let you go to some foreign country for 3 to 4 weeks with a bunch of people I don't know. NOPE! It's really out of the question in my mind. Then the Lord begins to work on me like he had been for about the last 5 years before that. I began to let her just talk about it so that was a small victory. She 1st wanted to go to the South America mission trip which I didn't have peace about - let's get real I probably wasn't gonna find peace about any of them. Then she says she really feels that the Lord wants her to go with these awesome leaders & some amazing young adults to...INDIA!! India? The land of a million Gods? OH MY!! I told her I'd pray and she was happy with that. Ray of course was on the other COMPLETE end of the spectrum. He would have let her go ANYWHERE, trusting that the Lord would take care of her. But, he knew that I needed to walk this journey out & he was confident that I would hear from the Lord. I began to make a list for the Lord to answer and IF He answered them ALL, I wouldn't be able to dispute that HE wanted her to go! My list was - would she get the finances to go: and she did, for herself AND others - would there be kids going with her that I'd feel good about in their maturity & also spiritual maturity: and there was - people she is still friends with, Megan went on that trip & Jessica we met because of that trip & Ray later married her to her hubby, Rick was on that trip & he was very protective over Sarah. So that was answered. The last thing I needed was that peace to come to my heart. It was a 3 week trip and I couldn't think that I wasn't gonna be able to function for 3 weeks. Because fear makes it hard to function. Sleep escapes you, you can't concentrate, you can't eat=Teddi can't take care of the rest of her family. But I made a HUGE step of faith to agree to let her go - Ray was already on board but he wanted me to have that peace too. So the final thing needed to happen. 1 morning around 10 days before she left Ray was having alone time with the Lord and he came to me after and confessed that he had been battling a bit of fear about letting her go - HUH? Ray Baker in fear, WOW! For a second I could have had a full blown panic attack because if he's in fear then I should be in utter shock. But what he was about to share with me changed my life. From that day to this the revelation that the Lord gave him was simple but it was straight from the Lord to me and of course to Ray. Ray had just been telling the Lord that he wanted to trust Him with Sarah and he was gonna try not to think of all the things that he could be afraid of with his precious gem in a country that hardly anyone even knows Jesus. And after he pleaded his case the Lord spoke to his spirit 5 simple words. He said - You Can't Keep Her Alive!! It seems so easy & simple but doesn't He so often through the Bible speak to us in such simple ways? He told me that and I've never been the same again. For me it encompassed soooo many things. But more importantly it was revelation. I can't keep them alive if they walk out my door and they go get the mail and someone swerves at them in a car & kills them. I CAN'T KEEP THEM ALIVE!! So began my walk of learning to trust the Lord in a way that may be sooo simple to most but was so hard for me. Other areas of my life I had complete trust in the Lord but with my families safety, it was a battle going on in my mind.

I can honestly say through the time of Sarah being in India those 3 weeks with hardly ANY way to communicate with her - I was NEVER, I repeat NEVER gripped with fear!! In HIM, I had peace! It was nothing I did, it was His amazing GRACE!! Then after that Rach & Sarah went with Rick & the band to the Philippines for a trip - NO FEAR! Then Rach & Sarah went to Israel on a mission trip and again I had NO FEAR! I can't express to you what victories these were! I was SOOOO fearful for my girls to go ck the mail and I'm letting them go to some pretty unsafe parts of the world?! ONLY IN HIM!! Then the Lord began showing me what my girls would have missed out on if I would have stayed being controlled by fear. Rachel & Sarah met Hannah's husband Austin on the Israel trip and I don't think he would have been brought into our lives if it wasn't for them going on that trip. Rach went and lived in Israel a couple Summers ago for 3 mths, PEACE. Then she went this Spring for the 3rd time. Hannah went to Israel 2 years ago & got engaged - no fear again. Ray & Liv went to Israel and I did awesome!! Rach & Sarah have been to more states then I can count, either ministering or for fun - and again, I've trusted the Lord. But earlier, in my mind I wanted them to forever and always be near so I could keep them ALIVE! But the Lord....had other plans for them and my hearts desire was that I would NEVER stand in the way of their destiny! I could share so many more times that IN HIM, I've had victory! What a wonderful God that we serve, who meets us right where we are and He begins to transform us and make us new. I'm so grateful that I didn't let fear stand in the way of my children's destiny. They've had life experiences that I've never had and if I would have continued, they would have certainly missed out on them. It breaks my heart to think of the people that they have met all over the world, that we may have missed out on knowing.

So I finish this where I started it...THANKING the Lord for His indescribable peace. He said He was gonna leave us HIS peace and boy oh boy did He!! Where there is FEAR, there is NO PEACE!!! So right now Rach & Liv are literally going all over Ireland. They're staying usually somewhere different every night, with rain daily and I've had peace that can only come from God. Sarah & Shali are traveling quite a bit between countries & Shali hasn't ever been out of the country - PEACE is what I have. Then Megan is gone to a place that is not too safe on anyones radar but I have total peace that she's in the will of God. 1 thing that the Lord showed me several years ago and there's been SO many things I've learned but He showed me that my children are MOST safe when they're in His will. If they moved across the world or stayed here - if they aren't in His will here, that won't be as safe as they would be there. Like I always say, this life is a journey and I'm who I am because of where I've come from. I've tried to stay teachable and every day I'm faced with a decision, a decision to walk in fear or walk in faith - faith in something that I don't see but faith in a Savior that is ALWAYS with me and always with my family. I choose faith! It's a place where peace dwells! I've spent too many years being deceived and thinking that the fear that was motivating me to make the decisions that I was making, was God, when in reality it was the opposite of God. I can be very emotional thinking that I could have kept living in the fear that I was living in daily but sadly I would be facing a much different life then the 1 my family is living. SOOO many BLESSINGS that the Lord wouldn't have been able to give my family if I wouldn't have decided to step out and BELIEVE! I had to 1st see that I was being deceived and THEN, He began to remove the scales off of my eyes. I thank Him for seeing me through those years. Only IN HIM can I have this testimony after years of tests. I pray that this testimony can stop my children from ever walking down the road I went down and if they do I pray it will NEVER be as long as mine was.

Your fear may be about something totally different. Your fear may motivate you in another way then mine motivated me. Every kind of fear has 1 thing in common - it wants you to believe a lie. The lie is - what the enemy is telling you, is bigger then God. To trust God with every aspect of our lives is tough for almost every human. It's a journey that starts young and if you've had hurts & pain, it begins to distort that trust in God. Some that have had an easier life, it's easier for them to trust. But let me remind you - It's the EASIEST thing to do when you begin to know that it's simple to trust in a God THAT CAN NOT LIE - When we begin to renew our minds with His word & we begin to see what HE says about taking care of us, what promises He's left us and on & on, HE begins to unmask a lie that the Devil wanted us to believe. Fear will stop you from blessings that you may not even know yet are yours. Most of us have fears - but let the Lord deal with those fears. DON'T live your life and make decisions that are motivated in FEAR!! Fear is a LIFE robber, it's a blessing STEALER, it sometimes starts out small and if it's fed it grows and grows!! You may never know what blessings you're stopping in your life because of fear...Trust IN the Lord with ALL your heart and lean NOT on your own understanding but in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.