Monday, April 30, 2007

A Backstage Pass!

Have you ever been to a stadium event? We watched a show on TV the other night that showed a black and white segment of a Billy Graham event from way back in the day. There was no media, no technology (except the mic). Just Billy Graham standing on a stage preaching with a whole lot of people in the stadium listening. The "concert" before he preached was a lone man standing at the mic singing. Today's stadium events blow that out of the water as far as logistics go! We attended Acquire the Fire earlier this year with the youth from church. Hundreds and hundreds of people worked prior to that event to make is such a success. Someone put the signs in the parking lot. Someone designed and printed the wristbands. Someone designed the website. Someone set up the stage and all the cords that go along with it. Someone ran the lights. Someone took out the trash. Someone cleaned the restrooms during the event. The amount of people it took to make that event happen is staggering. Then some people got on stage and got the glory. Well, God got the glory, too. If everyone had insisted, "If I'm going to be a part of ATF, I want to be on stage!" then it never would have happened.

The Bible has something to say about this. Listen to these words from 1 Corinthians 12.

14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Now please read these verses in context in your Bible. The author is talking about spiritual gifts. But here's what I'm thinking. We all play a different role in the church and in our families. There is a lot of talk today in the church about finding your spiritual gifts, your unique purpose, your "thing" that you will do in the church. It seems that it is an open ended question with a myriad of answers and possibilities before us. Someone even had to come up with a formula of sorts to help us all figure out what it is we are supposed to be doing. I'm a little stumped by the confusion.

I have found a lot of verses that tell me exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. More than I can list here. I am a wife, so all the verses talking to wives apply to me. I am a parent, so parenting verses apply to me. I am a believer, so verses that talk to believers are talking to me. There are examples in the Bible as well, such as Dorcas. I find no end to the question of "What should I be doing?" No not just anyone--me. What about me? What should I be doing?

As if I need a special book of the Bible written just for me!

God may indeed have big plans for me one day. He may ask me to be the person up on stage one day. But right now, I'm busy ironing my husband's clothes, fixing food for my family, taking care of my children's needs, and helping my husband in his ministry. I guess I'm one of those behind the scenes people who make big things happen by all the little things I do. I'm very content here because I know what I'm supposed to be doing. I have been given a backstage pass where I am very busy and get to watch the Lord work at the same time.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Soldiers of Christ Arise!

I usually keep my car radio on the local Christian station. I know how lucky I am to live in a town where we have such a thing! The music is clean, uplifting, and they warn you to turn your radio down before sensitive news stories come on (for the protection of little ears). It's nice.

And these days a lot of the songs we hear on the radio have made their way into church. I've even heard my 3 year old sitting at the table singing a Chris Tomlin song while she colored! Now I like these "modern" or "contemporary" songs just fine. In fact, I catch myself singing them during the week myself.

But it does make me kind of sad. Sad that my children will grow up not knowing the hymns that we grew up with. I keep an old blue hymnal in my sewing/laundry room. It's one of the hymnals that our church used when we were growing up. I flip it open while I iron and sing my heart out. I guess my children hear me, but that doesn't mean they will grow up knowing these songs.

I know, I know--it's a new age. There are churches who steadfastly stick to singing the old hymns. (Nothing written before 1920!) There are also churches who sing only "contemporary" songs and never sing "hymns." I guess its a matter of preference.

What really bothers me about all this new music is that it is all so emotional. Every song I hear lately seems written to tug at our heart strings, make us cry, and pierce our hearts. There is a place for that, of course. But whatever happened to songs that uplift us and make us prepared to fight the good fight?

Listen to these titles from my old hymnal: "Onward Christian Soldiers," "To Christ Be True," "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus," "Faith Is the Victory." These songs make you want to just march right out of the church and do the Lord's work all week long! They are encouraging. They are no-nonsense. They don't make you cry! I really miss those.

I don't know about you, but when I leave church, I don't want to leave all wrung out and exhausted from the emotional experience that worship was. I want to leave encouraged and filled with new strength to follow the Lord and face whatever lies ahead.

I could use a few of those songs sometimes.

A Home That is Ready

If someone knocked on my door at 8:00 on Saturday morning, would I be able to invite them in? What about at another time during the week? Am I ready to keep someone overnight if the need arose? How about having someone over for dinner at the last minute?

I have been very honest with you about my housekeeping skills. I was completely unprepared to keep a house when I got married. In college my roommates and I would all work together and get our apartment clean in no time flat. In fact, I never remember our apartment looking all that bad. I had one roommate who really liked to clean. When we first got married and had a tiny apartment, I was really good at cleaning it on Saturday mornings. I washed the clothes on weekends, too. That was pretty much what "housekeeping" was to me. That's how unprepared I was--I thought cleaning up on Saturdays was housekeeping.

Getting a house changed my opinon of that. It was so much bigger. I couldn't get it all done on Saturday anymore. Or at least it took more of my time. Add a baby or two to the mix and things really fell apart. It seems that working full time + caring for a baby= very little time to work on housekeeping stuff. There is a point where you get so behind that there is no keeping up. So you really don't even try anymore. It's so overwhelming you can't even tackle it. Then my husband would get fed up and go crazy cleaning. It made me sad when he felt like that because I knew I had failed him. A husband shouldn't hate the way his house looks. But, I was also grateful for the help. At least for a while things looked better!

Now I know people who work full time and their home is always impeccable. I don't understand these people, but I know them. I have also found out that a large percentage of people like this have a housekeeper come at least periodically. Those who don't mostly have houses that look like mine used to. I really believe that God intended women to stay home. Now I'm not going to get into whether women working is a sin blah blah blah. I'm just saying--God's original intent, in my opinion, was for women to keep the home. See Titus 2. Another verse talks about wives managing the home.

There is far more to managing a home than cleaning it, but let's start with the basics. I can LEARN to keep a house. There are books on this topic. The internet has thousands of sites with great information and encouragement on them. For me, I prayed that God would help me learn how. Getting my heart in the right place was the first step. Now, I am working to gain the skills I need. Homemaking is a lost art, ladies! Girls used to learn all this from their mothers before marriage. Well, God is powerful enough to help me. I will ask for wisdom and He will provide.

Here are some thoughts for you:
1. God is a God of order, not confusion. So how should a godly home look?
2. We should be ready to serve the Lord. Is my home ready if someone is in need?
3. Nothing we have came from us. Having a home is blessing, whether it is a rented apartment or a fine brick 2-story house. I should take care of the things God has given us.
4. We are designed to help our husbands. How does my husband like the house to look?

It seems like a small thing. There isn't a lot of glory in scrubbing toilets or floors. But God has called me to do it and so I will. And just maybe it will bless others, too.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Making Plans

It's the weekend. Do you know what you are doing this weekend? My husband and I have a daily conversation that goes like this:
ME: "What do you have to do tonight?"
HIM: "I have to __________. What about you?"
ME: "I don't have anything to do. I guess I could ________."
HIM: "OK. See you at home."
We make our plans around each other and since my husband works 2 jobs (his real one and part-time youth minister) we do most of the youth ministry stuff in the evenings. Since I no longer have a job I bring home with me (like when I was a teacher) I have my evenings free to do whatever needs to be done. After the girls go to bed I usually help my husband. I am his editor--the human spell checker--and sometimes his typist. Or, sometimes I am the official, "Find that verse that talks about..." person. Sometimes I am in charge of the concordance. It just depends.
In our former family life, I used to get really annoyed when my husband would ask for help. Isn't that horrible??? But come on, I have things to do too and aren't you an adult and no one ever helps me when I have things to do, etc.
Tomorrow my husband plans to work in the flowerbed. I will help him if he wants me too. I suspect he may want me to work inside the house so he can come in to a clean house and have, you know, clean clothes next week. The point is I am waiting to make my plans until I see what he needs.
Can you see what a blessing this is for our husbands? When we, as wives, are ready to help them when they need it, it really makes a difference. I'm not saying I'm perfect at this--not hardly!! But like I've said before, to me it was a RELIEF to understand that I was my husband's helper. No matter where we find ourselves in life, my role does not change. The business I am to be about is the same.
It makes for a nice weekend. Instead of us splitting up to do our very numerous tasks apart from each other all day, I have said "no" to most things that take me away from my family. 'Cause in order to help you kind of have to BE THERE. And can I tell you how appreciative your husband will be when you make this change? And then that makes you want to help him even more. How about that? God's plan really works!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wife, then Mother

I became a wife before I became a mother. I know that's not the way it always works out, but that's how I was raised. A unmarried friend of mine was teaching middle school several years ago when her students asked her if she was married. She told them no. "Well, do you have kids?" they asked. She explained that she just told them she wasn't married. "That's OK," they said. "You can have kids when you're not married." She simply explained to them that her mom said that was not OK!

Most people would agree that it is best to get married before you have kids. So why do we act like motherhood comes first? If not in chronological order, then certainly in importance? What I mean is, after we become mothers, that takes precedence over any need our husbands may have. We nearly cease to be "Mrs. So and So" and become "Whats-Her-Names's Mommy." Well, at first it makes sense because the newborn cannot do anything for themselves. They absolutely do need us. Our husbands, on the other hand, are surely capable of making themselves a sandwich for supper while we tend to the baby, right?

See, the Bible tells us that Eve was created for a very specific reason. Do you know it? That's right, to be Adam's helper. A suitable helper. A help meet for him, if you prefer King James. I am my husband's helper. I became that on the day we were married. Six years later when we became parents, did I cease to be his helper? No. Eve did not cease to be Adam's helper when Cain and Abel were born! Raising the children was part of what she did to help him. Hmmm.

What does this look like in daily life? It means that my husband comes first. WHAT?? SURELY I HAVE LOST MY MIND? Aren't children supposed to come first? When our larger family gets together to eat, we always serve the children's plates first. Then, all the grown ups go through the kitchen serving their plate. My uncle always mentions how when he was little, the adults got their plates first and the chilren waited. Because they were children. It's almost unthinkable. He says he understands why we serve them first (they are hungry, get them out of the way so we can enjoy the meal, etc.) but it still is very different from when he was a boy. I'll say. Our society has all but put children on a throne. I've heard elementary aged kids threaten their parents, "I'll call CPS on you!" Somehow our little darlings have gotten in their heads that they are in charge. And guess what, they are pretty perceptive.

So I want to send the clear message to my daughters that daddy comes first (after God). Because he is daddy. They come next. Don't worry, they are still going to know they are loved, but there is a chain of command even in the family (sorry, my husband's an ex-Navy man, these words are in my vocabulary) and they will know where they fall in that chain. Now my husband often says, "Go take care of them, I'll talk to you later." He knows they need mom sometimes and that what he needs can wait. But I still should put him first in what I do. I wash and iron his clothes first. I fix his plate first (if he's home). I teach them to help daddy as well so one day they will know how to be helpers for their husbands. I'm not saying I do this well all the time. I'm just thinking this is how it should be.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More Lies We Listen To

Tonight my husband will be teaching a lesson on 1 Peter 3 to the youth group at our church. It will be interesting to see the teens' response when they hear the part about wives submitting to their husbands. I expect the guys to bow up and act like "Yeah, that's right. Ya'll better submit!" I expect the girls to respond that it's not fair. I could be wrong, but we'll see.

The response to verses like this are always emotional. I've heard it all:
  • That was written by a man!
  • It doesn't really mean submit. It means _____________.
  • I don't like that verse.
  • That was a cultural thing. It was intended for the audience of that day.
  • We've come a long way since then!
  • I agree. But my husband.........

Here's the deal: God is unchanging. His word says wives should submit to their husbands as to the Lord. That's the end of the story for me. But then, I'm not like everyone else.

What I'm interested in is why this is such an emotionally charged topic. I believe it is because of the many lies even we Christians listen to in this world. I'm having trouble pinning down exactly which lie it is that causes us to not accept this teaching. Is it because we've been told our entire lives that women have rights? True, in America we enjoy more rights than many countries. We also have more rights than women did when 1 Peter was written. But, does that change God's command? I have the right to vote. But if my husband told me to not vote a certain way--then I WOULDN'T DO IT! Boy, I know some people who would get fired up over that statement!!!

Or maybe it's because we've been told that men should not be dominating. A man being "in charge" of his family is not politically correct. No longer do people believe that a man wears the pants in the family. And guess what? He really doesn't--at least he's not the only one. Now, 1 Peter addresses how a husband should treat his wife. There are biblical guidelines there. But we've been told that marriages should be 50-50. So that makes it pretty hard to swallow the concept of submission, doesn't it?

Perhaps it's because we believe we as women are more qualified for the job. I know some folks who think this. Why should they submit to a husband who doesn't have a clue when they themselves know how to run the house/make decisions/provide for the family, etc. We have been very empowered.

So, I guess all of these lies are wrapped up in the blanket of feminism. They are so inter-mingled it's hard for me to list out the exact lie that is blinding us to the truth. I do know that Satan's plan is working. We are so engrained with feminist thinking that we cannot even accept a command of the Lord. It's a very sad thing.

There is something we can do about this...but that's another post!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Where Does Joy Come From?

We got back from our camping trip tonight and we were all tired. We had a great time and it was really nice to be together all weekend. I didn't have very high expectations for this evening. I expected we would unpack, do laundry, take very overdue baths, and rest. Not terribly exciting.

Then, while my daughters and I were eating supper I said something funny. It was a mistake actually, but the wrong word came out of my mouth and it made a funny sentence. We all just cracked up. I mean the kind of laughter where you almost can't breathe! It was so cool to laugh that hard with my girls. That kind of moment doesn't happen that often where everyone thinks the joke is funny. No polite laughter--just snorting, falling out of the chair funny.

It got me to thinking...where does joy come from? I know it's a fruit of the Spirit, so that tells me it comes from God. Surely there are unsaved people who experience joy. The world's wisdom would tell us that some people are just more prone to joy because of their personality type. Children certainly seem more joyful than most adults I know. I've always heard that joy and happiness are not exactly the same thing. How do you get joy? What do you do if you want more joy in your life?

I don't have any answers--it's just what I'm thinking about tonight. Guess I'll study up on this later!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hitting the Road

Well, tomorrow we leave for our first-ever 2 night stay camping trip. We've camped before, but only one night at a time since we've had kids. We are going with another family from church and I am excited. Sometimes camping can be a bit boring, but with other kids to play with, and adults to visit with, we should have a lot of fun.

It will be interesting to see how our "new" family plays out on the road. Just as I'm getting into being a houskeeper, we are going to change locations. When we camp, my husband is in charge completely. He has way more camping experience than me and I just feel like I'm in the way sometimes. He even does the cooking when we camp. It's a strange shift from our normal life! Well, there's no denying I will most certainly be his helper this weekend, as that's really all I know how to do.

The girls are so excited we may have to strap them down! Keeping them calm so my husband can be calm will take up a lot of my time. Two little giggly, jumpy girls do not make a relaxing trip!

But I am very excited for the time we can spend as a family. My husband is going to work with our older daughter on riding her bike without training wheels. And everything you do when you're camping, you do together. No one can go off into another room. No computers (gasp!), no TV, just lots of togetherness. And hopefully lots of time to talk with my husband. We are too busy all the time and I am looking forward to having my family all to myself for the weekend.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Whatever Happened to the Hope Chest?

Do you even know what a hope chest is? I haven't heard anything about them in years! I had one when we were engaged. One Christmas my husband and I (then my boyfriend) had a "Little House" Christmas. I sewed him a shirt with my mom's help, and he built me a wooden chest. That chest sat in my room and for several Christmas' before our wedding, I got things to put in the hope chest. Let's see...I had dishtowels, pot holders, a nice knife set, silverware, an iron, etc. My understanding of a hope chest at that time was a place you put things you will need when you are married.

I've been thinking more about hope chests lately. Having two daughters really has made me consider the effect of feminism on our society and on their futures. If they had been born in a different time, they probably would have finished school and possibly worked a year or so until they were married when they would have quit to become "Mrs. Whoever." Then they would have been a homemaker and later a mother. If they had been born further back than that, they would have spent years filling their hope chests with quilts, linens, cookbooks, sewing items, and possibly a wedding gown. They would have spent years learning from their mother how to cook, sew, clean, manage a house, shop frugally, and please their future husbands. Mothers passed this information on back then, or so I hear.

I was born in the 70's and I grew up hearing "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Career choices were considered from Kindergarten on! I mean, I always expected I would get married and have babies, but that was hardly even talked about! When I was a teacher in the late 90's, we had 3rd grade girls who would say they wanted to be a mom when they grew up. Teachers would click their tongues and shake their heads. (Can you believe that's their greatest ambition? What will become of them?) They were asked to consider a career choice as well.

Many people would agree that a mother staying at home is a good thing. At least when the children are little, anyway. Some people expect that all women should work and leave the child care to "professionals." When the children are in school, most people assume the mother will get at least a part-time job. I mean, after all, what would she DO all day? And it is almost unheard of for a wife to stay home before she has children. These are the times my girls are being raised in.

But I have dreams of them having hope chests. Of them filling their hope chests with items for their future home, but also with dreams. I want them to dream of the day they are wives and mothers. I want them prepared to run their household, both in skills and attitude. I'm not concerned with career choices. If they work a few years before they are married--great. I hope they choose something they enjoy and could possibly help earn money from home if it's ever needed. I don't want them to wonder what they are going to be when they grow up. I want them to be quite sure--they will be a godly wife one day. God willing, they will also be godly mothers.

It will take a lot of extra effort for their mother to learn how to prepare them in this way. It will feel like we are stepping back in time. I may have to do some research! But the hope chest, and all that it symbolizes, will not go away in this family. At least not if I have anything to do with it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Center of My World

It occured to me today that the center of my whole world has shifted. A few short years ago the center of my world was church. I was voluntarily running the children's ministry after our children's minister moved away. I secured teachers for classes, ordered and wrote curriculum, decorated rooms, maintained records, shopped for supplies, wrote newsletters, planned events, taught, and even coordinated VBS one summer. In the meantime, my husband was acting as part-time youth minister (in addition to his real job!). We were one busy family!

Why? Why did I involve myself so heavily in church? Well, because it was my gift, of course! I have been taught over and over by mainstream religion that I should find my areas of talent and use them for the Lord. So I did. I was serving God. What could be a more noble cause than that? I also told myself there was no one else to do it. It will make things better for my children. Lots of really, really good reasons.

I see other women doing this, too. For some it is church. For others it's baseball or whatever sport is in season. For some it's the P.T.A. and school volunteering. For some it's crafts and hobbies. These "good" things that we choose to do. They can easily slip into the center of our worlds.

This is when they become a problem. Oh, these ladies would disagree with you. They would say they put their family first. They can't see how their world has shifted. They are too far involved. I know because that's where I used to be.

The Lord has taught me a few things since then. I have learned that my husband and children and our home should be the center of my world. Each day I strive to serve my husband, train our children, and care for our home. They have become the center of my world. I have found peace, joy, contentment--all sorts of things.

Some scripture to think on...
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 2:4-5)

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24)

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. (1 Timothy 5:14)

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Some Lies We Listen To

Recently my eyes have been opened to how many lies of Satan we Christians, women specifically, believe. I wondered why the families in our church didn't stand out from the world more. I believe it is because we have bought some of the same lies that any other person on the street has believed.

The first lie I wrote about is the concept of "Me Time." See my thoughts on Me Time here. The lie I'm thinking about today is called "That's Just How I Am." This is a great, clever trick used by Satan to keep us being mediocre or just downright unsuccessful. I'll give you an example. I stayed home for a year. I couldn't believe my good fortune to be able to finally be a SAHM!!! I had been a working mother for 5 years and couldn't wait to be a housewife. Well, it wasn't a very successful year in my estimation. My priorities were way out of whack (spent all my free time doing "ministry" and neglecting my family--more on this lie another day!) But the bigger failure is that my house was always a mess, the finances were not organized or taken care of like they should have been, my husband often did not have clothes to wear to work, etc. Why? guessed it..."That's Just How I Am." I just told myself that I was disorganized, so how could I possibly expect myself to keep up with everything that needed to be done? I am not good at paperwork, never have been, so this is as good as it's going to get. I am not a good housekeeper, so I don't expect my house to look like so-and-so's.

So that's the lie we've been told. You hear it all the time. Especially when people are describing a weakness they have. "I just wasn't born that way." "It doesn't come naturally to me." "That's just how I am." But is this what scripture teaches us?

Philippians 4:13
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

I do NOT believe for one minute that God would ask me to be a helper for my husband and a keeper of our home and not equip me with what I needed to do the job. "Sorry, God. I can't really run a household because..." you get the idea. Maybe some things don't come as easily to me as they do others. Maybe I don't know the first thing about cooking or canning or budgeting. But guess what? I do know that God can help me learn whatever it is I need to learn. I do not have to listen to the lie that will keep me doing a poor job for the rest of my life. His grace is enough for me.

I DO believe that if I am successful at being a helper to my husband, and keeping our home that our family will be a greater threat to the enemy. That's why this lie is so good.

Lord, please help me learn those things that will help my husband and family the most. I want to serve you in this home to your glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A New Ministry Opportunity

Ladies!!! I have a new ministry opportunity for you. Now I know that many of you are stretched beyond your limits. Some of you sing on the praise team. Others of you teach children's classes. Some of you are already involved in the Prayer Ministry, Food Pantry, Ladies' Bible classes, Ladies' Ministry, chaperoning youth trips, serving on the decorating committee, the Missions Forum, the Evangelism committee, Children's Church, etc. We KNOW you are busy. But this is a new ministry opportunity and we are really excited about it!!!

The good news about this ministry opportunity is that you will not have to spend gas money traveling back and forth to the church building. That's right! You can work from home. The hours are flexible, but long. We know you aren't worried about working long hours though, because you already work long hours in your other ministry commitments.

Here is what we need you to do: we need women willing to serve their husbands by being his helper. We need you to keep the home, watch over the affairs of your household, and not eat the bread of idleness. We need you to train your children, teach them about the Lord, and see that they grow into godly young men and women. We need you to submit to your husband as to the Lord. Oh, sorry. For those of you who don't quite have this new lingo down yet....your husband is like the chairperson on this new committee you will be serving on that is called your family.

There will not be an awards banquet to thank you for your faithful service at the end of the year. You will not be in front of people getting praise and attention for your "talents." You will be more a "behind the scenes" ministry partner. Oh. That doesn't appeal to you? You don't want to waste your gifts on menial labor? Your children are older now so you can do things that fulfill the Lord? Your husband doesn't need help because after all, he's an adult? I'm sorry to hear that. I was so hoping that some of you would step forward and serve in this new ministry.

You see, this ministry has been neglected for quite some time. While your husband went to a meeting, and you were at praise team practice, who was watching your kids? Oh, they were OK? But what about all the training they are missing out on? Am I keeping you from something? Your Ladies' tea is today? Where are your children? Oh, your husband is keeping them so you can go. Well, maybe next time.

Will anyone choose to serve in this new ministry?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Things I'm Tired Of...

There are a few things I am tired of...

1. Dropping my daughter off at day care every morning and leaving her with other people.
2. Not having a dryer (ours has been broken for 4 days--getting a new one has been a process.)
3. Doing homework every night with my older daughter. (It's getting old.)
4. Having our paperwork be a mess in our home office.
5. Keeping busy at work when I want to be at home doing stuff for my family.

There are a few things I could NEVER get tired of...
1. Hearing my husband pull up in the driveway each evening.
2. Seeing my children when they are asleep (such angels!)
3. Saturdays (Stay-home day!)
4. Hearing my children say, "I love you."
5. Talking to my husband in the evenings when the kids are in bed.
6. Growing in the Lord.

I couldn't complain without telling you what I am thankful for, too! I am thankful every day that I don't teach anymore (the pressure, being gone from my babies all day, the workload outside of school!). I am thankful for the change of heart the Lord had given me about taking care of my family. I am thankful for a godly husband who loves the Lord. My life today is not even comparable to how my life was 2-3 years ago. I would never want to go back! I wish more women got this! I am my husband's helper. I am a mommy. I am a homemaker. I don't need anything. I have been abundantly blessed. I will trust the Lord about the things on that first list. I have nothing to complain about after all.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Beginning of Faith

I've been watching our daughters this week with special interest. All this talk about Jesus around Easter time has really shown me their understanding of things. We always talk about God at our house, but this week especially. We got out the Resurrection Eggs again tonight and reviewed the story. Even our 3 year old has a small understanding of the Easter story. She knew who rode the donkey and what the cross was. I overheard her playing with the eggs later. She picked up the linen cloth (symbolic of what Jesus was wrapped in) and said to herself, "This is the blankie they put on Jesus." Sweet stuff.

She also said her first dinner time prayer this week. She has never wanted to say one by herself. "Dear Lord, Fank you Mommy feel better. Fank you our food. And.........................The End."

It's exciting seeing faith develop. Our 7 year old asked tonight why they put Jesus to death if he didn't do anything wrong. I explained and then I heard her singing to herself in the bathtub later. "He died for our sins and even if I lie again, I still can go to heaven!" Tell me kids don't understand big concepts! (And yes, there will be a follow-up discussion on that one!)

There really is something about the faith of a child. When my oldest was 3, I was rushing to the emergency room to see my dad (he had cancer at the time and was fine but we had a scare that day). I couldn't remember how to get to the hospital from the direction I was coming from and I was getting pretty anxious. I said out loud, "Oh Lord! Please help me find this hospital." My sweet baby piped up from the back seat. "Don't worry, Mommy. God will help us find it." She was just so sure.

We adults really think that there is so much that little kids "can't handle." We keep "big" problems to ourselves and try not to worry them with adult cares. The truth is, they could probably handle some things BETTER than grown-ups.

As I try to live my life as an example for my daughters, I am very thankful for the example they are to me.

Matthew 11:25-26 At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Defensive Parenting

I think as a family we do a pretty good job of being defensive around our house. What I mean is, we are careful what our children watch on TV, what they hear on the radio, what movies they see, what magazines are brought into the house, etc. We guard our children’s hearts and minds pretty well.
I know some families who are WAY more careful than us and it usually gives me a twinge of guilt knowing that my daughter sometimes watches Sponge Bob Squarepants on TV when I started out saying that she wouldn’t. When I am around the children from a family like this, I find myself being very careful. The parents seem to be easily offended by things that I don’t think twice about.
But sometimes I see Christian families who don't seem to think twice about anything. And I am the one that is shocked. I used to think that other Christians were much like our family—striving to be godly. What I have found out was that some families just go to church.
So, it seems that there is a scale. On the left I imagine extremely permissive parents whose children participate in the world just as children from non-Christian homes do. On the right, I imagine children who are home schooled and rarely away from their parents.

I can imagine where I would place our family on such a scale. I guess everyone can find families around them who are very different on this scale from their own. The closer you are to the other family on this scale, the more comfortable you are letting your kids hang out with their kids. Makes sense, huh?
The only problem with this scale theory is that we are not to compare ourselves to other families. They are not our standard--the Bible is.
So maybe this is not all revolutionary to you. Our family does a pretty good job of protecting our children. Our defensive skills are fairly sharp in the war for our children’s salvation. I am proud to say that my 7 year old does not know a cuss word and is very naive about things that 7 year olds should still be naive about. Other children her age have not been nearly as protected as her.
But as anyone knows, defense has an opposite. It is known as offense and it is not talked about nearly as much as it’s counterpart. Here is an area where our family can improve. Without an offensive strategy we just end up with sheltered and naive children who are unprepared for the “real” world. (The argument many give against home schooling!) What so many Christian home schooling families get that many of us often don’t—is that the offensive side is just as important for our children.
So what does the offense look like? Is it about finding “alternative” choices for your children? Suppose they aren’t allowed to watch cartoons on the cable channel. Well, everyone knows children need cartoons to watch, so we will just check out appropriate videos from the library. We will teach them to say they are not allowed to watch those channels if they go to a friend’s house. Instead of reading just anything from their school library, we will make sure they read wholesome books written by Christian authors about young men and women of God. Instead of listening to the radio or the popular music of the moment, we will fill their media library with contemporary Christian artists. This is surely a better choice.
Is this really what offense is about? Or are we spending our time making substitutions for the blanks the world has already deemed need to be filled in for our children?
Since the Bible is our standard, let’s consider what it has to say about all this. One of the first verses that Christian home schooling families often cite is Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

The argument, of course, is that instilling the word of God into our children is something that happens all day every day. This is the offensive weapon we have been given. God’s word is the sword of the spirit—the only offensive weapon mentioned in Ephesians chapter 6. So, in order to fight offensively for my children’s salvation—not just defend them against the world—I need God’s word and lots of it!
It’s just so simple it seems too good to be true. I didn’t say it was easy, but I marvel at the simplicity of God’s plan. Fill them up with the word of God. If we do this, our children will grow to understand the will of God and be able to make godly decisions for themselves (eventually). If we as a family are following God’s word, then our decisions we make today for our children will automatically be those that are good for them. No more need to scramble around finding alternatives so our children will not be deprived of the entertainment other youngsters enjoy. When our choices are based on God’s word, and our days filled with it, they will lack for nothing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I Love.....Me!

I was at the doctor yesterday flipping through magazines. I picked up a popular ladies' magazine and read the "Letter from the Editor" section at the beginning. The question she posed was WHO DO YOU LOVE THE MOST? I immediately thought, "Ooo! I know! The answer is God!" Well, it turns out I was wrong. The editor sincerely hoped that the reader had answered, "ME." That's right--ourselves. She went on to explain, as I have heard over and over again, that you need to love yourself more than anyone else. You know, women tend to be giving and nurturing and we do too much for others and not enough for ourselves, blah, blah, blah. You have to love yourself first in order to be able to take care of goes something like that.

Well, I never thought anything about "me time" as I hear it referred to. Of course it is logical to think that we all need to shut the door and take a bath sometimes without little ones coming in to drop things in the water with us. (Anyone been there?) Of course we all need to take care of our health and rest when needed. Doesn't everyone need to "get away" sometimes? But the whole issue of loving myself more than anyone else did not sit right with me.

Teri Maxwell has some great things to say about this. I could not even begin to say it any better. Here's a link to get you started (there are 5 posts) ( She searched scripture to find verses that proved she deserved time for herself. You may be surprised at what she found.

I really, really want ladies to read those posts! The world's way of thinking has crept into churches and godly homes alike. We don't even recognize it as being "worldly thinking." Just take a look at any women's magazine out today and you will see a reoccurring theme of "loving yourself first." But is this a godly theme?

I think it would be interesting to read a women's magazine and compare every article with scripture. What is the world saying? What does God say?

I guess the point of all this is I am learning to see things with new eyes. Things I have always accepted because I hear them all the time, such as the concept of "me time," I'm trying to look at with spiritual eyes. Is this really what God wants? As Christians, we accept many of the world's ideas without a second thought. I don't want to do this anymore.

I'm sure there are other messages we are being fed that I haven't clued in on yet. Can anyone think of other examples?

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Gift of Protection

God set the family up in such a way as to offer protection to it's members. It goes like this..

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3

It's been refered to as an umbrella which covers and protects those underneath. We all understand this when we talk about children. When a child rebels, they are opening themselves up for all sorts of attacks from the enemy. (As well as very real and visible dangers!) They are essentially taking themselves out from under the umbrella (their parents' authority) and trying to do things on their own. We all can agree that children should remain subject to their parents, as God intended. It's not as easy when you start talking about the adults. This means that as a wife, I should remain in submission to my husband. If I rebel, I am no longer under that wonderful protection.

Many people think of this established order as a burden. Nothing could be further from the truth!! God's order is a gift--a gift of protection. When I "placed" myself under my husband's authority (which also meant under Christ and God's authority) I felt such a sense of peace. I didn't have to do everything! I wasn't responsible for everything! God has given me my husband to be over our family. What a relief!

When we talk about "broken homes" we mean a family where someone has left the established order. Perhaps the father walked out on his family. They no longer have the husband/father to be over them. Maybe the mother puts herself above her husband. Maybe the children have rebeled against their parents. Either way, this is not just a broken home. It is an EXPOSED home. They are exposed to the elements. They are open to attack and all sorts of pain that God never intended they go through.

How seriously does the Lord take this gift of protection? I realized today what this verse meant...

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Why orphans and widows? BECAUSE THEY ARE UNPROTECTED!!! The widow no longer has her husband over her and has already left her father's house, probably years before. Orphans do not have their mother and father over them. These 2 groups of people are mentioned because God wants them to be protected by other believers! It makes so much sense. But it really opened my eyes to how important God feels this gift He has given us really is.

He is good, isn't He?