Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
We still bring up the subject now and then. We have put off thinking about the whole thing whenever I was pregnant. We have decided to wait until they were older. We have thought about short-term mission work we could do with the kids. We know missionaries. We know former missionaries. We know people who grew up in missionary families. It's still in our plans for one day in the future.
When we bought our first house 2 years into marriage, I dreamt of raising our family there. We did end up moving into a nicer and newer house when I was pregnant with Sweetheart. So, then I pictured having teenagers in that house. I pictured hanging their graduation pictures on the wall at that house. I pictured them coming home from college to that house. I was set. We had a house and we would raise our family and gather belongings and everything would be great and comfortable.
Flash forward 7 years and find me packing again to move into this slightly smaller, much older house. I could care less what our house is like as long as I can make it into a nice home for my family. After all, one day we may be living in a hut in Africa!!! And? I will make that hut a wonderful home for my family. Being a homemaker doesn't mean buying a house and living the American dream. Being a homemaker means I can make a home for my family no matter where we find ourselves.
In line with that kind of thinking, I worked hard to downsize our belongings when we moved here. We can't just live and keep collecting stuff that we have to move and pack and take care of the rest of our lives! We need to be ready to serve the Lord. How can we be ready to go do His will if we are tied down to a house and stuff and debt, etc? Good thoughts. (In fact I think after living here 1 year it is time to de-clutter again!) I am absolutely convinced that going to do God's will is going to be an exciting time in our lives!
But what about when God says, "Stay"?
So we find ourselves in a mission field right now. Where we live, where we work, where we attend church---we are being called to serve. Right now. It isn't foreign. It isn't all that exotic. It isn't far away. Can this really be missionary work?
But we find ourselves in a position where we know some people who go to church but are not disciples. Some people who have heard the name of the Lord, but whose lives have not been changed or transformed. And some people that we would actually not choose to have our children spend time with. And in those respects, this is exactly like missionary work.
So my home....this home...for however long we live here, must be ready to serve the Lord. I must be ready to have people over. I must be ready to cook meals. I must be ready to share what we have. I must be ready for...things I cannot even imagine. I really can't.
Because I don't know what this "local missionary" thing looks like. But it sure feels nice to know we have the opportunity to serve the Lord RIGHT NOW and not sometime in the FUTURE. Instead of planning and dreaming of what might happen one day, we find ourselves here...right now.
May God use this family for His glory.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
But I am not NEARLY finished raising them. They are very young and need guidance and constant watching. We have been involved with a homeschool play group this year and I have been SO impressed with the children's behavior. It is a very mixed group with children ranging from 1 month old to 18 years old. The first week we were there, the two oldest children arranged games for the other kids to play. I watched in amazement as older children stopped and helped younger ones tie shoes, as they all stopped playing to see if my daughter was OK when she fell, and just generally took care of each other. All the teenagers were involved with what the other children were doing, instead of hanging around the adults or sulking around in the corner that they even had to be there. MUCH different than what I'm used to seeing! I complimented one of the moms and she was quick to say, "Oh, our kids can be like any others. Just wait and see!"
Well, a few weeks later I am still impressed. However, last week a whole bunch of children were playing outside unsupervised. Sweetheart had been instructed, "Stay inside the fenced area." I went out and couldn't find her. When I finally did, I saw that they were pulling limbs off of trees and having a big "girls against boys war." It wasn't anything big, but they were all in areas they probably weren't supposed to be in, climbing on things they shouldn't be climbing on, hitting harder than they should have been, and tearing up young trees that did not belong to them. Supervised...none of that would have happened. I know it could have been much worse, but it just made me think that unsupervised, all children can start down wrong paths.
I'm not just homeschooling. I'm not just staying home with my kids. I'm not just keeping house. Every minute that they are awake I am training them. As a Christian, I understand the concept of training. The Bible talks about it. I have read excellent material on it. I am learning how to do it better every day. And it's not too hard to find examples of poor training if you look around.
This morning I watched a clip on the Duggar family. You can see the clip at A Wise Woman Builds Her House. Meredith Vieira of The Today Show is interviewing the Duggars in New York when she asks their oldest son, Joshua, a question. He gives his mom credit for training them well. "Training?" Meredith Vieira stammers. At the end of the interview, she compliments them saying, "You have trained them well."
The concept of training is strange to the world. I have heard all the "what do you think they are, dogs?" comments before. But the effect of good, godly training are obvious and it's hard to deny that it's good. Very good. All the years of training your children will pay off with the good fruit their lives produce.
And how can you train them if you are not with them? Just a question.
So, I will log off now because mine are awake. Have a great day!
Monday, October 22, 2007
My mom and Sweetheart enjoying hamburgers and baked beans.
And Little Bit enjoying her cowboy supper.
While we were there, my cousin called and asked if the girls would enjoy helping her feed some baby goats. Would they?
Sweetheart loved every minute of this. Little Bit was a bit more unsure of these unpredictable baby goats. And there were dogs. And rusty things. And dirt. So naturally she was a bit uncomfortable. Have I mentioned she likes order and cleanliness?
Then we went on a little tram ride they offered. I wanted to capture the moment so I took a picture of the girls. Hey, wait a minute! I'm not going to be in any of these pictures. Sweetheart, will you take a picture of Little Bit and me?
And then a very kind girl behind us offered to take our picture.
Later, Sweetheart officially became a Brownie!
Last weekend, we attended a local pumpkin patch/fun type thing at a church nearby. Here is Grandma and the girls.
So far, this has been a really fun month! I never would have guessed how much time there would be to do fun things and still learn (maybe more than if they were in school!). I am a huge fan of homeschooling now. It feels like we are finally a family and our house is really a home instead of just a pit stop where we land each night.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
But now, I am going to delve into different territory. This post is about my own quest to find out "what version should I read?" Now, first I had to wonder if there is one version that is the right one. Or, is there just a "best" version? God's word is inerrant, but surely all these different translations or versions contain the errors of the men who did the work of translation. After all these years, some people argue, how could there possibly be any version that is still as it was originally intended to be?
In this study of mine, I was curious about these folks who have been labeled "KJV only." I had heard my mom say that my grandmother would read nothing except the King James Version of the Bible, but I just chalked it up to an old woman who was set in her ways. Through the internet, I have discovered that that was most likely not the case. I have read various arguments about why the KJV is the only, the very word of God to English speaking people. I have gained a great respect for the KJV through this research, but I'm not sold. Maybe it's because I've never had an opportunity to ask questions and actually talk to someone with this belief. I'm still thinking on everything I've read.
I was raised using mostly the New International Version (NIV). To be honest, S and I have lost some respect for this version through our research. It remains the most comfortable one for me to use right now because I am very familiar with it. But not to worry, there are many others I can try! For example, I could try the ASV, CEV, ESV, NASB, NCV, NIrV, NKJV, NLT, The Message, TNIV, and on and on and on and on. It it enough to make one's head hurt, isn't it?
I can only imagine the task of wading through this as a seeker or new Christian! May I encourage anyone who has not already done so, to look into the background of the Bible you are reading? Just so YOU will know? There are other ways to choose a Bible version:
1. Ask someone you admire what they read.
2. Pick the one your preacher uses during his sermons.
3. Use what the majority of your church uses, so you can "follow along" easier.
4. Go the bookstore and pick the one you like.
5. Use the one you were given as a gift.
6. Use the one you've always used.
I have done a few of the above myself. But now I want to know more. I usually hear people say, "I prefer..." just before they list the name of the Bible they read. I understand, I really do. But shouldn't it be about more than my preference?
Obviously my earlier research made me cautious. Then I became very leery of The Message being used as "just a different version of the Bible." Have you heard the background of that book? It is a book, by the way. It was written by one man. Sure, he looked back at the Greek text when writing it, but still. When The Message first came out, it was touted as a paraphrase. Many older folks compared it to The Living Bible in the 70's. (Holy cow! You mean The Living Bible was a paraphrase, not a translation? I had the children's version of that growing up!) People enjoyed reading it because it brought some freshness to the scripture. But as the years wore on, it began ranking right up there with any other translation on the market. It's just one of many, many choices.
After hearing The Message used in sermons, we purchased an NIV/The Message parallel Bible. This Bible has both "versions" side by side on each page for easier comparing. And a whole lot of the time, I find The Message to be WAY off. But it's fresh all right, if that's what you are looking for.
I've already told you that we own just about every Bible under the sun (well, they are all in English!). When studying scripture, we don't hesitate to crack out many different versions to look at. I do believe the KJV to be one of the best, most reliable translations we have found. It is so difficult to read that we sometimes use the New King James Version. I know there are many who would disagree with that move. I am reading a few different versions right now. Trying them out--if you will.
There is really nothing to do but study for myself, and pray. If God can use handwriting on a wall, and even a donkey to speak to people...then surely there is an answer to this dilemma. It's just that now that I know more about some of what's out there--I feel this is a more important decision than I once realized.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
The item that came to my attention is the issue of gender-neutral Bibles. If you have not heard of this, then you are probably saying, "Huh? Gender what?" They have been called other things such as "inclusive," "gender inclusive," and "unisex language" Bibles.
The marks of these translations is that they have traded pronouns such as HE, HIM, or HIS for more neutral pronouns like THEY, THEM, THEIR or the second person YOU. That way, you see, no one is left out.
A quote from this very old article: "Pressure for unisex language came from women who, in the words of Mr. Walker, "felt left out" by the traditional language." Oh! I see. Women felt left out. Kind of like how you can't say stewardess anymore, but have to say flight attendant instead, right?
It's not just the pronouns, either. MAN, MEN, MANKIND is replaced by PEOPLE, SELF, HUMAN, MORTAL, etc. FATHER is changed to ANCESTOR or PARENTS. Wherever it used to say BROTHERS it now says BROTHERS AND SISTERS. What's the big deal? It's just a little word. It surely doesn't change the meaning of the text, right?
The big deal is that it is rooted in feminist influence. The problem is that I read how America wasn't ready for this new translation so it was printed in Europe instead. And then they found a way to get it printed here in America under the name NIrV (New International Reader's Version)--a children's Bible! And honestly, who sits down and reads their kid's Bible cover to cover? So who is going to notice something like this? Especially when we are so used to having to be gender inclusive in our everyday lives?
By the way, they did get the Bible printed a few years later under the name TNIV (Today's New International Version). I have looked at a copy of this translation, although we don't own one. There are websites which painstakingly list out verses that change meaning due to these "little changes." I don't have to list them here. Just Google it and see for yourself.
And if you understand the effects of feminism--then these types of Bibles are surely cause for concern. When God's intended roles for men and women are so blurred in our everyday lives, do we really need a Bible that helps us blur them even more?
Just my little words of caution.
Next time: The Acronyms Are Making My Head Hurt
Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
For years we have kept all of our Bibles, except the ones we are currently carrying with us, on a shelf together. We jokingly refer to it as the "religious shelf." And you have to say that with a very pompous sounding voice, by the way. We do give Bibles away whenever needed. If someone comes to our house and we find out they don't have a Bible--you better believe they are going home with their choice from the religious shelf. It is painful to know that we freely have all these Bibles in our home and Christians in other countries are lucky to get their hands on a Bible at all. We would give all of them away if we could except one for our family. But which one would we choose to keep if we could have just one?
AH HA!! THAT is the point of this post! (You just knew I'd get around to it eventually, didn't you?)
Before I get too far into this, let me give you some background on our Bible experience growing up. We both grew up with a mixture of versions or translations in our homes. We also both grew up with grandmothers who read only the King James Version. Since S and I grew up at the same church, I would have to say that the main version or translation (I know there's a difference, but you are going to see me use those terms interchangeably) that we grew up using was the New International Version (NIV).
Now, if you are a new Christian or perhaps have never been to church, what I just said was a bunch of nonsense. Believe me, even as someone who grew up in church, I'm about to confuse myself!
I've heard different things about different versions over the years. The real trouble began for me when I had to buy Bibles for my children. We had a lovely little hard cover baby Bible both girls carried to church back when they still stuck everything in their mouth. I wanted them to get in the habit of bringing their Bible to church so this was the one I bought them. Slob didn't hurt it at all. From there they graduated to The Young Reader's Bible. I knew this was not a real Bible, but rather a Bible story book. So last year for Christmas, with Sweetheart being a reader and all, I decided I needed to purchase real Bibles for both girls.
And I was completely overwhelmed.
I sensed this was a very important decision and I began by visiting the Bible bookstore. Silly me.
There are hundreds and hundreds of Bibles to choose from. It is absolutely mind-boggling. I had no idea where to start.
Of course I was drawn to cute little things like this. But I was leery of purchasing cuteness over quality. And then there were some that were just cool in a weird sort of way. At the same time, S was involved in youth ministry so I decided to see what kind of Bibles the teens at church carried. For weeks I accosted the children and teens at church: Let me see your Bible. Who gave this to you? Your mom? Where did she buy it? Can I look at it for a minute?
And then of course I hit the internet. And what I found was very interesting, but it will have to wait for the next post.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I just wanted you, my readers, to know that here at The Family Revised we do not adhere to these false practices. I am all about being honest and real with you.
I'll prove it.
A while back I posted a picture of my living room. It was all clean and shiny and wonderful. Here's a reminder:
But I just want you to know that this is NOT an actual representation of our living room. Here is the stark reality of our lives when we have been running like chickens with our heads cut off for 2 weeks straight:
Making my readers feel better about their own houses. Just another service I provide here at my little blog.
Have a great day!
There are several areas I'm thinking about right now, but for obvious reasons, Halloween is one of them. I've been discussing this with a friend lately who is also struggling with how her family has "always" done things. I told her my "plan" for not participating in Halloween. I told her my why. And then I told her my own personal "alternative" for this year. (Again, why do we need an alternative if there is nothing wrong with the real thing?)
So why can't I just drop it already???! Why can't I just say, "We are NOT participating in Halloween this year. Period."
Because leaving old ways is hard, that's why.
Is it because people will think I am strange? Do I care about that?
Is it because I don't want to "hurt" my children? Is that the best decision for them?
Is it because I don't want to hide myself away from the world? Am I afraid I will miss some great opportunity to share Christ?
Is it because I don't want to be "too" radical? I mean, if I just go and make some statement about how Halloween is evil, I will offend someone! (Gasp) So, we preface our statements with "For me..." or "Well, I felt the Lord convicting me..."But aren't' there some things that God holds ALL Christians to? Or do each of us have an individual plan from Him?
If I really believe that as a Christian, I should not participate in Halloween--then what exactly is the dilemma? And I'm not just talking about Halloween here. Anything that I have read and understood in God's word and need to obey--I should just do it already! Why the hesitation?
Holly, when talking about her own family's transformation, said it well when she said, "Every step that we took outside of the “norm” of our friends felt so lonely." It really is hard changing.
Will I feel the need to have alternatives when my children are old enough to date? Will I stick to my guns? Will I keep the girl's hair long if all the styles change to very short? I could go on and on. Will I continue to hesitate to obey God and His ways?
Here is some perspective:
I recently learned of a festival I had never heard of before. I won't be specific because I don't want to pop up on a Google search, but it happens in a large city in California each year. From what I read, police turn their heads as over 400,000 people walk around in various stages of dress, performing s*xu*l acts and celebrating certain f*tish*s. I literally COULD NOT BELIEVE it when I found out about this annual event. I even went to snopes.com thinking the e-mail I had just received about it HAD to be a hoax. (Guess what? It wasn't. If you want to know the name of the event I'm talking about, just e-mail me.)
The point? OK. This festival disgusts me. I would NEVER participate in such a thing. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it does not please the Lord.
Should I then think of an alternative so my family will not be left out? A little cleaner version, perhaps?
Certainly not! The very idea is crazy! So why is it so hard to separate from the world and start living by God's standards in every little thing? I know that is an extreme example, but...
...if it pleases God, shouldn't I jump to do it?
...if it does not please God, shouldn't I stay very far away?
What exactly is the dilemma here? I want to be bold enough to unapologetically live my life for Him.
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:11-12
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Having these girls has made me think about a lot of things over the last few years. I've had to think through modesty, dating, women's roles, college, homemaking skills, etc. Some of it is the here and now for us. Some of it looms on the horizon. But I want to be ready.
However, here is where we live...
We were at Wal-Mart a week or so ago. The girls and I had just rounded the corner with the shopping cart and S. was a few feet behind us. A lady stopped me and inquired if she could ask me a question. Her question was, "Have you heard of "god the mother?" (I think she would have capitalized that g, but I cannot.) I told her I had. She wanted to know where I had heard it. I told her I couldn't remember, but that I believed it was wrong. She held up her Bible and said that scripture talks about "god the mother" all over the place. Unfortunately for her, S. stepped up just then and asked her to show him where--where does it say that?
I say it was unfortunate for her, because if there is one thing I know about my husband--he LOVES to discuss scripture. He loves God's Word. And he knows it, too. We think she approached me because it seemed I was the mother of 2 girls, shopping all alone. Too bad for her.
S. motioned for us to go finish shopping and I gladly left him to debate with this misguided woman and the man standing silently behind her. Later I remembered, it was a friend from high school who liked to talk about "god the mother." I believe that the "appealing" part of this thinking is that it puts women in a more prominent position. You know, where they should be and all.
And then today we began learning about fire safety. I had printed a little sheet off the computer last night that showed all the gear a firefighter wears. You know, kids are scared when they see all that coming towards them during a fire, so they should be prepared. Well. When I handed the sheets to the girls to color I noticed that the firefighter was a woman. Hey, I know that there are thousands of women firefighters in this country, but it just annoyed me. Because I know the only reason they chose to put a woman instead of a man is to prove a point. It's like propaganda, I tell ya.
Then we went to the library where I selected several firefighter books from the non-fiction section. I didn't really bother to look at them before we headed home. How controversial could they be? Sweetheart really liked one book. It shows a female firefighter living in the fire house with the male firefighters, "getting" to do everything they do. She thought it looked like great fun and began talking about how she wanted to be a firefighter when she grew up. One picture even showed the woman sitting and lifting weights in between fires. "Whoa, Mom! It says '25' on the end of her weight!" Yeah. Good. This is the example I want for her. The very fact that the book includes lots of pics of the woman firefighter opens up the possibility in Sweetheart's mind that it could be her one day!
So what I'm saying is that feminism and feminist thinking is absolutely everywhere. We are saturated in it. It is even in the church. To an extreme with the woman at Wal-Mart, and to a lesser degree (subtler) in our churches. How do I raise daughters around these influences without them being influenced by it all?
Well, first of all I am assuming that feminism is bad. You might disagree, reader. To be perfectly honest, I have a hard time noticing feminist thinking because I am so used to it. I grew up in the 70's and 80's. I don't know any other way.
Except that when I read the Bible--I see something different.
Here is a quote from a site I found today on Women's History.
"Traditionally a middle-class girl in Western culture tended to learn from her mother's example that cooking, cleaning, and caring for children was the behavior expected of her when she grew up. Tests made in the 1960s showed that the scholastic achievement of girls was higher in the early grades than in high school. The major reason given was that the girls' own expectations declined because neither their families nor their teachers expected them to prepare for a future other than that of marriage and motherhood. This trend has been changing in recent decades."
So, I find myself feeling as though I'm trying to "return" to another time period. Some would feel that I am going backwards. I WANT my girls to believe that these things are expected of her when she grows up. I'm not so sure I want them to dream of careers. Is that wrong? Did she start thinking like this because of her years in public school? Is it just the swing of the proverbial pendulum?
I believe it is more. I am not looking to women's history to make up my mind about how I will raise my daughters. I am not looking at society or the world. I am not looking to any famous Christian authors. I strive to look at God's Word only. But it's difficult when this other is in our face all the time.
**Please don't read this post as an attack on female firefighters who could one day save my life. I know. They work hard. It isn't about them--it's just that I believe those pictures are included in the children's book very purposefully.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
We were talking about submitting to husbands and how freeing it is when you finally get it. My friend asked me, "What made you finally understand the concept?" I told her that honestly, it started when I read Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl. Of course it was the Lord that spoke to my heart and helped me understand His truths, but that book was the beginning of newness around our house. I had just never heard it SAID like it's said in that book. She just lays it all out--no excuses. No tip-toeing around hard truths. I told my friend she could borrow my copy when I got it back from my sister. She asked me when I had read the book. I thought and told her, "Well, it must have been within the last year because I read it at this house and we've only lived here a year." Thinking back, I now remember ordering and reading it at our old house--but still, it's been within the last 2 years that I read it.
"Really?" she asked, incredulous.
"Um, yeah. Why?"
"Because I thought you had all this figured out a long time ago. You certainly acted like it."
Hmmm. So she thought that I was submissive to my husband, but I know better. How can that be?
At church we recently read the story of the "prodigal son". If you've grown up in church, this is a familiar parable to you. If not, take a minute to click the link and read it. It's short.
Now we all can see the sins of the wayward son. He dishonors his father by asking for his inheritance while his father is still alive, squanders the wealth, does everything he shouldn't do and end up in a pig pen. It's all very obvious.
But the other brother is a lesser character in this parable. Someone in our Bible class pointed out that although he was the "good son" and had stayed home doing what he ought--he also had some problems. When he found out his father was throwing a party for his no-good brother he was very unhappy. Although his actions had been correct, his attitude was not.
Ah. Two kinds of sin. One--obvious action. The other--not so obvious wrong attitude and heart covered up by right actions. And there was my answer. I may have looked like a submissive wife 10 years ago, but I most certainly had a wrong heart and attitude. I would not want anyone to know how ugly my thoughts could be back then.
As we all go about our tasks this week, we must remember to make sure that our actions AND our attitudes are proving to the world (and to our families) that we have been transformed. Because they both matter. They really do.