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  1. P.S.S. This might sound crude but it really is true that if you push down like you're having a hard bowel movement you will push correctly and won't tear. Don't worry about tearing if that happens. Your body heals very quickly from that and it isn't a problem (and you don't even feel it when it happens you are numb down there at the time). Tearing won't happen if you can get the labor nurse to heavily massage and stretch your perinium while you are in labor. Remember, you are actually the one in charge of your birth experience and can request what you need from the hospital staff. Don't let them put you on their time clock and try to force you to get an episiotomy or an epidural unless that's what you really want. Be assertive! Like I said, your body was made to do this, and being as young as you are is actually a great advantage. You may go very fast. I've watched babies born in the jungles of Africa and they literally shot out! You'll do great girl!
  2. P.S. Instead of fighting the pain in each contraction it really helps to force yourself to relax and work with it. Think, "Down and out!" as you push.
  3. Dear sweet mom to be, I have given birth to many children and can encourage you that it is a holy and beautiful and powerful experience. You can hold God's hand through every contraction and birth pain. Your birth experience will probably go pretty quickly because you are young. What helped me the most during labor was to have my favorite worship music playing, hot compresses (like was cloths) pressed against my vulva, using a birthing ball, and counting through each contraction. I told myself the truth that although it was getting more and more intense with each contraction that meant the baby was making progress in coming out. If you feel what I call the "ring of fire" when the head is presenting then you can rejoice that the end is near! I highly recommend not getting an epidural or using other drugs. Turns out that the doctors don't tell you that one in five women have chronic back pain after that. The time I used other drugs I was so groggy I couldn't enjoy the moment when the baby finally came. Doing it natural is intense but your body was made to do this and you will survive. Plus there are all kinds of wonderful hormones that God placed within you that kick in during birth to make sure everything works as it should. There is no way to describe the wonder and joy of holding your baby for the first time! A whole new world of love will open up to you and you will feel a comradery with all the other mothers on the earth. I remember my own fear before having my first child. I would talk to people about it and end with saying, "But after the baby is born THEN what do I do???" The answer turned out to be very simple: you just feed her, change her, and let her sleep. Newborn care, though exhausting initially, is very simple. There is nothing like holding your child in your arms and gazing with wonder and awe into their tiny face studying every line and curve, holding their precious little hand as their fingers curl around yours, snuggling them to your breast. I only had one or two days of post partum depresssion with the first one. You just push through it. Nursing was painful for me for a few weeks also. You just push through it and then the sweetness and comfort and joy is well worth the effort. There are usually lactation consultants at the hospital that have good advice to get you started. I know of an organization called MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I can't recommend them enough. Look them up on line and find the chapter that meets in your area. They will encourage and guide and bless you through your whole mothering journey. Resources like "Growing Kids God's Way" were also extremely helpful in all the practical steps to raising a child in every stage of their life. There is some very foolish information out there as well so don't believe everything you read. Find another mom with children that you respect and make a point of talking to her about all your questions. I am happy to encourage you as well and can give you practical advice. It's natural to be afraid of the unknown but be assured that God has brought you to this moment and will carry you through it! I am praying for you!
  4. What enabled me to embrace the truth of Christ's full forgiveness was to have the gospel really explained to me. Here I'd been a Christian for over forty years, and taught the Bible to many others, and yet I discovered that I only had a partial understanding of the gospel. The gospel is taught in many variations among the different denominations. I grew up being taught that the gospel went something like this: "Jesus died on the cross to forgive all of your sins so that you could be reconciled to God and go to heaven when you die. But after you become a Christian, if you continue to sin, you are separated from God by your sin until you confess and repent. If you continue to sin you may not really be a Christian at all, or, you may lose your salvation." Maybe you learned something like that? This view of the gospel has led to tremendous condemnation in my life because I worried about being separated from God by my sin. I often felt that my sin made God feel disgusted with me, even ashamed of me, and barely able to tolerate me at times. Now I've learned that a real understanding of the gospel brings one joyous liberty instead of condemnation. It all goes back to what happened in the Garden of Eden. What was the original sin? Was it just eating fruit from the wrong tree? Was it disobeying God? Was it believing the lie of the devil? I believe it was all of these plus something else very subtle and destructive. What was the devil really saying when he said they "could be like God" ? I believe what he was saying was that if they would just eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, that is, if they just knew the difference between good and evil then they would naturally choose good and would therefore be able to be perfect like God. In other words, you can become perfectly righteous and holy in your own strength just by knowing what is good and striving to do it and striving not to do what is evil. But what does God say actually gives us righteousness? Doing what the devil said and trying to earn our salvation by living by the "knowledge of good and evil", or, by trusting in the mercy of God to give us His righteousness through the death of Jesus Christ? I think you know the answer to that! Romans 4:22-24 explains this quite well. Why then did God give Moses the Law? The apostle Paul explains in Romans 1-8 that the Law of Moses,and the fact that sins aren't just outward deeds but include those of the heart and mind as Jesus explained in the Sermon on the Mount, was intended to show humankind that no one is able to be righteous (and even when they think they are they sin by being full of spiritual pride!) Therefore, no one can be "perfect like God" (Satan's lie) and thus everyone is in need of God's redeeming mercy. What happened when Adam and Eve sinned? They died, just as God had forewarned. But what was this death? They did eventually die physically many years later but at the moment of sin they died instantly in their spirits. What does it mean to die spiritually? It means that the Holy Spirit that was breathed into Adam and Eve making them "living souls" (as opposed to the life given to the animals) was removed from them the moment they sinned. Now they were truly dead inside and they passed this "sin nature", or this lack of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, to all of their descendants. The gospel starts with the need to solve two problems: sin and spiritual death. Sin always separates humans from their holy God and "the wages of sin is death". God would have to solve both of these problems permanently in order to be reconciled to His beloved humans, and, He did! Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection from the grave paid completely for every sin that every person who ever lived or will ever live has ever or will ever commit (I John 2:2). There was no way humans were ever going to be able to be good enough through their own efforts to make themselves righteous so God did the only thing that could be done for reconciliation to occur--He forgave everyone's sins. If just believing one lie of the devil, eating from one wrong tree, could send all of humanity plummenting into Hell then sin is much worse than we think it is. Even the sins we think are not too bad, such as gossip and slander, are so horrific that God Himself had to die to pay for them! Think about that! God Himself had to die to pay for that little bitty sin that everybody thinks is OK to do. The problem with misunderstanding the role of the confession of sin in a believer's life to something that now is the means by which we gain forgiveness makes sin of no real consequence, just something you have to say you're sorry for and try to do better about. Should we be honest about our sins with God and others? Absolutely! But that is not how we gain forgiveness. Jesus' death is the only thing that has effectively dealt with the hideousness of sin and when He died He said "It is finished!". Oh, what beautiful words! I used to think that statement by Him just meant that He was done suffering Now I understand that what He was really saying was, "The sin issue between God and man is now finished!" Is there any sin that can now separate you from your God? Only one, that of NOT believing in Jesus Christ as your savior. This is what Jesus describes in the gospels as "blashphemy against the Holy Spirit". Why would not believing in Jesus be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? The answer to that lies in the second problem God had to solve when Adam sinned, the problem of spiritual death. Jesus' death and resurrection dealt forever with the first problem, that of sin and it's ability to separate us from God. Forgiveness, however, is not what saves us. Forgiveness is what makes salvation possible. When we believe that God has truly forgiven us through Jesus Christ, He gives us the free gift of the restoration of the Holy Spirit inside. Some describe this as "asking Jesus into your heart" (or "your throat" if you are from Melanesia : ) ). The restoration of the Holy Spirit is what Jesus was referring to when He told Nicodemus "you must be born again!". Since there is no sin that is not already forgiven through Jesus' death and resurrection then there is no reason for the Holy Spirit to ever leave a believer. Said another way, you cannot become spiritually dead again by the removal of the Holy Spirit from within (lose your salvation) because you cannot commit a sin that has not already been forgiven. THAT is the good news of the gospel! Therefore, your sin Naomi, and my sin, as great and as frequent as they are, never, never, never separate us from our God. God is never ashamed of us, never disgusted with us, never just "putting up" with us. He is well aware of our sin but as a loving father He says "I've already forgiven that! Come into my arms!" No matter how many times my children sin against me, in my mind, they are already forgiven and I will always love them. If I can do that as a sinful human parent how much more can our loving God who truly DID pay for all of our sins, relate to us on the basis of forgiveness? I am well aware of the verses that seem to say that you can lose your salvation through the sins you do. If you would like we can discuss those on another post. The Christian life is based on the forgiveness of God and you cannot know peace with God without embracing the truth that all your sins are already forgiven. Despair and hopelessness come to me when I don't believe God loves me and I don't believe God loves me when I let myself believe that He still holds my sin against me. Who tells me that God condemns me for my sin? You guessed it--the devil! That is why he is called the "accuser of the brethren". How does he communicate his accusations to us? Unfortunately, through two very realiable sources--other Christians, and ourselves. It has been life changing for me to start recognizing and standing against condemnation in my life from these two sources. I had no idea how much condemnation was destroying me until I really started to dare to believe that all my sins were forgiven 2,000 years ago. I still battle condemnation regularly but God has shown me some powerful ways to deal with it which we can talk about in another post if you are interested. It has really helped me to listen to the teachings of a jewish pastor named Aaron Budjen who discovered Jesus while training to be a rabbi. His website is titled "Living God Ministries" and I especially recommend his series on forgiveness, the Sermon on the Mount, and his verse by verse study through the books of Romans and Hebrews. Hope this helps : )
  5. My dear sweet sister, All my life I have tried to be the perfect Christian but never felt I measured up. On the outside I may have succeeded at times in giving the impression that I was doing a good job of "walking with God". But inside I have always knew I never measured up to God's standards,I felt that I never really pleased Him, and because of these feelings I could never feel His love. In my mind my sin always separated me from my God. It did no good for people to tell me how much God loved me, how much He was always with me, how much I just needed to try harder and fight the devil more. That was the problem--I had truly tried harder and fought the devil harder but I never got past this lonely empty place where there was a huge wall of guilt and condemnation separating me from the love of my God. Until now. Now there is a crack forming in the wall and I am finally, for the first time in my life, daring to believe a little that God might truly love me. God has recently shown me what the root of the problem has been: I haven't understood His forgiveness. I was told when I was first saved as a little girl many, many years ago that "Jesus forgives all your sins, past, present, and future!" That truth was in fact what brought me to give my heart to Him. But then a multitude of sermons, pastors, teachers, and Christian friends added to this truth saying that, actually, God only forgave your sins up to the point of salvation and after that you have to be continually forgiven by confessing and repenting from your sins. They assured me that, of course, when I did confess and repent God was ready and willing to forgive (I John 1:9) but until then "my sin separated me from God". This misunderstanding of I John 1:9 led to devastation in my life. How many times do you come to God confessing the same sin over and over again and never getting to a place where you truly conquer it before you feel so ashamed you can no longer come to Him? How long does it take before you feel so condemned, so unworthy, so hopeless that it is impossible for you to believe He loves you? Not long! I could never blame Him for not loving me because I blew it so often. Years of knowing better and still blowing it, over and over again. Crying out for His help and still no change. Memorizing whole books of the Bible, "standing on the promises", etc., etc. Was I truly even saved? Condemnation became a crushing and constant weight I bore. And then, one day, He gently and tenderly started to show me the truth. The first thing He showed me was that His love was very different than mine, very different than any human love can or ever will be. I only love the lovable but He loves the most dispicable sinner. My love is weak, shallow, fickle, and selfish. His love is deep, passionate, faithful, and sacrificial. My love wanes, dries up at times, and can even turn to hatred. His love "endures forever". Without realizing it I had internalized that God's love was just like my love, or human love in general. If His love is truly like ours then of course He can't completely forgive us. Or more correctly, He can't have already completely forgiven us. I had to chew on the truth that His love is different for a long time before I finally believed just that much. Still can't fully embrace the rest of the truths about His love but at least now I'm on the path towards that. And just believing this one truth made me ready for the true breakthrough to start happening. The real brekthrough has come from simply embracing the completeness of Jesus' forgiveness. This is the truth that brought me to Him in the first place--He has already forgiven my sins, past, present, and future. That means my sin, whether I am doing it right now or will do it tomorrow, never, never, never separates me from my God. There is absolutely nothing I need or can do to change that. Jesus' death on the cross was brutal and horrific and complete enough to truly forgive all sin for all time. Period. Now when I feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, even though I still fight the old feelings of condemnation, I eventually come to a place where I say "thank you God for already having forgiven this!" and then dare to bask in His complete acceptance of me. Getting to this place has been a long journey and there is more I would love to share with you if you are interested. I am just at the beginning, really, of a whole new experience with God, but it is so truly wonderful and powerful and freeing I can only describe it as being similar to being raised from the dead and starting to truly live. The peace I feel now is almost tangible. And all this is happening while I am walking through the most horrendous experience of my life. How can I feel God's love for me when He is allowing so much unspeakable suffering in my life? I don't yet know, but at least now I have some hope that I will one day soon. I had no idea that, though I've been a Christian for so very long, I really didn't understand the gospel. I understand it now and it has set me free. Do I still struggle with condemnation? Almost daily. But now I am starting to recognize it for what it is--a lie from the devil--and now I can stand against it (instead of beating up myself). I am praying for you to truly know the forgiveness of God so you can receive the great love He has for you!
  6. Hi I am new to using forums, but was hoping to find a place I could share thoughts and feelings with other Christians. I am a little nervous about making this first post because I see so much criticism and downright cruelty in the interactions between people on some of the other posts I read here. I have decided to go ahead and take the risk and ask a question. Though I have my own thoughts in this area, having been a Christian for a long time, I would like to get feedback from other people. What do you think is the primary way the devil attacks Christians?
  7. Paz


    something happened to this topic?
  8. This is one of my favorite verses
  9. Paz

    First Post

    Hello people. I am going to enjoy getting to know people. Paz
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