Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Anti-abortion does not equal pro-life!!!

So which one are you? Most people would say they are the same thing but really....they aren't. The world and the devil would like us to think that if we are anti-abortion then we must be pro-life but there is a huge chasm between the two.

We all know what it means to be anti-abortion....that once life has been formed, that new life should be continued. To be anti-abortion you consider tearing life from the womb to be murder....quite simply you believe abortion is wrong. Pretty easy to understand right? But what is the true, deeper meaning of being pro-life? The one way the two beliefs are the same is they both say that abortion is wrong....but that is about as far as the similarities go.

To be pro-life you must first realize that all life comes from God....He creates and sustains all life. Each individual life has been designed by God before the world began. It's hard to wrap our finite brains around but it is true none the less. God also says in His word that children are a blessing, therefore they should be viewed as such. They are NEVER to be seen as a burden or inconvenience. What that attitude must do to the heart of the Creator!

With those bases covered, let me just ask some questions and then you can decide which category you belong in : ) Do you look into the eyes of children and marvel at the unique creation of each one? Do you LOVE to be around children? Do you fervently desire more children of your own? Are you willing to accept MANY children if that is God's will for you? Or are you to busy with "life" to pour yourself out for God by nurturing and raising a houseful for His glory? Do you get excited for couples who already have a half dozen kids when they announce they are expecting another child? Or do you cringe and think they are adding more trouble to an overpopulated world? Do you count it a privilege to carry new life in your womb and then spend your time and energy teaching that new life about God for the next several years? Do you long to bring forth new life for as long as your body allows? Or do you long for your fertility to end (so you won't have to worry about birth control) and look forward to traveling the world and spending time on yourself? Which is more important and is done for His glory? The bottom line is that to be truly pro-life, you need to desire and welcome all new life.

I know it sounds harsh especially during this modern age of two incomes and feminist thinking. But God intended for us to love life the way He loves life.....to spend our time and lavish our affections on Him and the eternal blessings He sends us....not on the temporary worldly things surrounding us. I want to be sure that my heart is one that constantly says "Your will Lord, not mine"....a heart that says "send new life my way and with Your strength and help I will love them and raise them for Your glory".

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

God's provision

People are often curious about our large family and how we are able to provide for so many little ones. I find myself telling the same story over and over to friends, relatives, and strangers alike. It goes something like this: "Of course there have been hard times financially where things were tight. There have been times when it looked like things were going to completely fall apart. But always, always, always the Lord provides for us. As my pastor always says, He shows up right on time, with just enough!"

That story is true for many large families that I have either met or come across on the internet (through blogs, etc.) For the unbeliever it is very difficult to imagine having to provide for a large family during difficult financial times. But for those of us who know Him, we know He is able and faithful. There is no need to worry when you have placed your life into His hands and surrendered your all to Him!

I've read stories of bags of clothes being left on doorsteps, as well as cars or money being given. Today we experienced one of these blessings first hand when my neighbor came to my door. She handed me an envelope that had my name typed on it and told me that someone approached her husband and asked him to give it to me. Whoever it was said they wanted to remain anonymous. I told her thank you and she walked away. I opened the envelope to find some money and a slip of paper with John 3:16 typed on it.

So of course I cried, and then I prayed and gave God thanks and praise for His loving provision! It couldn't have come at a better time...His timing is always perfect. Words cannot express how blessed I am feeling today! All I can say is praise be to HIM and Him alone!

Friday, September 25, 2009

What kind of fruit do you bear?

The Lord Himself has much to say about bearing fruit. There is a clear way for you and anyone who knows you to gauge whether you are truly a Christ-follower, or a Christian in name only....by the fruit that you bear! There are plenty of people who believe in Christ that aren't truly desiring to follow Him. The Bible teaches that even the devil believes in Christ!

Matthew 7:15-20 teaches that a good tree can't bear bad fruit and neither can a bad tree bear good fruit. So what kind of fruit are you bearing? If you are walking in the spirit you should be bearing those fruits....love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.... Does this sound like your life? Are you angry, bitter, and impatient? Do you love those that hate you? Are you gentle or harsh? Are you meek or obstinate? I would humbly like to suggest that if you aren't bearing good fruit, it's time to check your heart and life. Galatians 5:24-25 says "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

If you claim to know Christ and find that you are bearing bad fruit....could it be that you are unregenerate? There will come a day when it will be too late to make it right. There is no time like the present to repent before a Holy God and start walking with the Lord....to surrender your whole life to Him. If you are living with one foot in this world and aren't fully surrendered to Him, it will be evident to those around you. How can we properly disciple our children if we aren't really disciples ourselves? For the sake of our children and the sake of our own souls, each of us that professes Christ with our mouths needs to be sure are hearts are aligned with His!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Teaching them to serve

There really is no place for laziness in the Christian life. We are to be busy, busy, busy for the Lord. People often tend to think that being busy for the Lord means being active in the Church but there is MUCH more to it than that! God designed the family so beautifully.....he places each of us into our individual families with a unique role for each family member.

The family is the ideal setting for learning to serve....by serving those who are nearest and dearest to us. But how do we go about helping our children learn to serve their families? Well for starters, we must serve them and do it CHEERFULLY. Mothers and fathers must set the example. We are wasting precious energy and time if we serve them with a bad attitude. We need to go about all of our business with a smile and delight in our soul.

Something else we need to make sure of is that we are doing enough serving and not just delegating the majority of the tasks to others. We are a family after all and everyone needs to do their part. (There are certain exceptions of course such as very small children or those who are sick, etc.) Children won't want to pitch in and "help" if they are the only ones doing anything. The saying "work before play" should apply to all family members who are old enough to contribute, including parents.

So moms, do you find yourself exhausted because you are doing all the serving? Perhaps you have children who are serving you and their younger siblings but they do it grudgingly. If so, why not try a fresh start? Take small steps at first. Of course we can't rush in commando style and start telling them they WILL do this and that and do it NOW. We may get results but not the best ones. Here are a few ideas to get things started:

  1. Pick a quiet time to talk to them about how the Lord served when He was on this earth.
  2. Show them from scripture what is said about serving and work.
  3. Explain to them the importance of learning to serve others by deferring their own wishes and desires.
  4. Give them examples of how they can serve other than just through chores....i.e. "When you see your little sister struggling to pour a drink offer to help without being asked."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Waiting on the fruit...

If you are like me, you like to see immediate results from all your hard work. It's something I'm trying to get over but it's slow going for sure : ) The never ending task of helping our children to learn God's word, to learn to love one another and get along, and to learn fractions for that matter can be exhausting work. Sometimes I find my self asking "when oh when will I see the fruit of my labor?" It seems that lately my patience has really been tried and I have had to work extra hard to smile and speak gently to my children. Believe me it can be really hard by lunch time to keep up the happy face!

When I feel the fleshy side of me start to creep in, the only thing I can do is take a deep breath and give it to the Lord...again and again. He's the only one who can mold me and change me. Do I always overcome the flesh and look immediately to Him? Of course not....and when I lose my patience I repent....again and again. It's an ongoing process that is sometimes painful and a lot of hard work. It can be so hard to set the example of Godliness for our children but they ARE watching. Kids don't miss a thing believe me.

So, what's a mom to do? Keep looking to the Lord, keep praying and repenting, and keep loving those little blessings He has given us. I know that I will need to be in almost constant prayer today as we are all sick and feeling cranky. Praise the Lord that He hears our prayers all the time....even the ones we have to hurriedly send His way.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Inspiring them to educate themselves

For the past few years, I've been doing a lot of reading of my own. Reading is something I never really enjoyed much when I was growing up but now I've come to love it! So, this year in our homeschool I've made some changes. For one, I'm committed to spending A LOT more time reading aloud with the children. Reading aloud good, quality literature (not twaddle - I just love that word!) is really beneficial to the younger children as well as the older. Plus it makes for lots of good discussion, not to mention piling up on the couch together : )

The other big change for us - or more specifically me - this year is Mom is making a point to further educate herself. Aside from just learning along with the children as I teach history and science, I've been studying extra things on my own and making sure the children see me do it. My oldest son is working through a world view course and I've decided to do it as well. My reasons for doing this are really pretty simple. I want to inspire my children to educate themselves! Once children learn the basics of reading, writing, and math they can learn anything they have a desire to know. They don't need me to stand over them and tell them what to study and what to think about what they've learned. I will always be there to guide them of course, but I want them to learn to think for themselves.

So around here, we will be reading and discussing, reading and discussing, and then doing it some more. Mom will be furthering her education and then sharing what she has learned with the kiddos.....just in casual conversation during our everyday activities. So many of us have a misguided idea of education. It's not as difficult as some try to make it. Some of the greatest minds in history belonged to those who educated themselves. Lest you think I've quit requiring anything from my children, think again. There are certain requirements for all of them. However, I'm hoping as the years go by I will be able to require less because they will have an eager desire of their own. I can just supply the materials (according to each child's God given bents and desires) and sit back and watch - all the while knowing that God is in control : )

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"God wants us to use wisdom"

Honestly....I try to be kind to family, friends and even strangers who throw this comment my way about family size. But for some reason this really irks me....I mean really irks me. Seriously...I find myself having to pray for patience when the words start to fall from some one's lips. You can see it coming - you are talking, they are asking if you will have more children, you are explaining that you are leaving it up to God....and then they get that look and sort of smile at you before they throw out the old argument "Well, God wants us to use wisdom!" Ughhh....

Wisdom can only come from God. When we seek God and His wisdom through His word, what do we find he says about children and the womb? Let's see....children are a blessing, God opens and closes the womb as he sees fit, and in the one instance where birth control of any kind is mentioned (Genesis 38), the man involved (Onan) is put to death. (NOTE: I've heard all the arguments about the so called "Onan Incident"....save your breath because I can't be persuaded to change my mind : )

I really try to smile and say something nice in response....I really do! However, I often end up saying nothing or saying something that I don't feel clearly states my convictions about the matter. The biggest problem I have with this argument is that at it's very core, it implies that WE create children....that WE give life....but we don't! Yes we play a part, but it doesn't guarantee conception. If it did there wouldn't be couples all over the world struggling with infertility....period.

As I've stated before, most of us with large families have heard all the comments. And honestly....it does get old but I still try to be nice and smile and pretend it's all ok....haha. My sarcasm is showing I'm afraid. This "wisdom" argument ranks right up there with the "Don't you know what causes that?" comment. To which I will from now on answer "Yes....GOD!" Kelly Crawford over at Generation Cedar got me thinking about this the other day....and now I have a ready response that I've committed to using! (Thanks Kelly!)

So now I just need a quick, intelligent answer for the "wisdom" argument and I'll be all set. I just feel that if I have something worked out to say, I will be able to maintain character that reflects my Lord instead of being rude and short with people. Wouldn't want to do anything to damage my testimony, kwim? Maybe I could just say "God creates new life, not me. True wisdom is being fully surrendered to Him.".......not sure if I like that.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Duggar's have been blessed.....

yet again! They are expecting their 19th child in March of 2010. With all of the negative talk and comments that can be found on the internet about this precious family, I wanted to take a few minutes to say something positive!

So, why do I think this news is so exciting and so wonderful? Well first of all because all children are a blessing and they should be celebrated as such. Other than that....it's not really because of the NUMBER of children they have. This news has me tickled pink because during an economic time when most people would never consider a family this size, the Duggars are sticking by their convictions and letting God continue to control the size of their family.....and I for one think it is a wonderful testimony.

Now I know what you're thinking....the economy isn't really effecting them...they have their own show and plenty of money, right? Well I for one believe they would still be standing by their convictions if they never had a show and the bigger beautiful home they now have. In fact, if they lost it all tomorrow, I doubt they would change their stance on God controlling the womb.

I also think that after having this many children most women would be ready to throw in the towel (actually most wouldn't consider having this many in the first place but I digress). Pregnancy is very difficult for a great number of women....morning sickness, weight gain, varicose veins, etc. etc. Then once the little blessings arrive their is loss of sleep and more dying to self for years to come. Let's face it....most women are far to selfish to have 19 children! But not Michelle Duggar. She is more than happy to be His willing vessel.....to die to self and live for Christ.....to ignore the comments and opinions of a negative, sinful world and declare that her body is not her own, she has been bought with a price, and she will continue to bring forth children for the glory of God, so long as he continues to bless. I applaud their faith and their willingness to live out their testimony before all the naysayers.

Obviously I love this family and can't say enough positive things about them. Please don't think that I see them as perfect. Pshhh....there is no such thing. However, I would like to close with a challenging thought. I'm sure many, many people think that if the Duggars didn't have the financial blessings they currently have, and that big beautiful home that they would have decided to quit obeying God in the area of family size by now. Let's consider another point of view shall we? Isn't it possible that they have gotten more financially etc. BECAUSE of their obedience to God in this area? I'm inclined to believe that's the reason.....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gently leading or forcefully driving

It can be so hard to find a balance when training our children. Unfortunately, many parents become frustrated with the long process and find themselves losing their patience. When this happens, the flesh can take over and we can easily become harsh, overly critical, and very demanding. However, this is not the way our Lord deals with us. Now I understand that as believers we will suffer hardships and pain but our precious, patient Lord isn't standing over us yelling and demanding obedience. He LEADS us to where He wants us with grace, patience, and love.

This is the way we should be training our children.....grace, patience, and love. We need to show our children Christ in our daily living and behavior. Do we want them to see Him as impossible to please? Not at all.....Yes He has stringent expectations but HE IS mercy and grace and we should be pouring them out on our children. All the while, gently leading and encouraging them to chose the right paths....teaching directly from the scriptures starting at a young age....showing them that His word is the only source of absolute truth and that the Lord is to be obeyed in everything.

It's no easy task that's for sure. But it is one that should be of the utmost importance in the Christian home. Homeschooling lends itself very well to this sort of training. We are with them throughout the most important days and years of their lives, able to impart truth to them consistently and without the influence of secular anti-Christian teaching undermining our efforts. The job is difficult enough without these other influences.

So how are you training your children? Are you ignoring them until they are getting on your nerves and then raising your voice and issuing orders? Are you expecting them to know how to act and behave even though you aren't investing any time in teaching them? Or are you daily setting a Godly example and holding important conversations with them about God's truths? Are you keeping them close to you throughout the day and involving them in your life? Are you walking them through scripture and asking questions enabling them to think about God's word for themselves? Please don't say "This is what the bible says and this is what you are going to do..." That's not the answer! GENTLY LEADING is the key.....just like the leading of our Savior, The Good Shepherd.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A desire to please....

I think it is a fair statement that most young children have a desire to please their parents. It is evident in their beaming smiles when we praise them for a job well done or for helping with household chores. Don't we all want to be appreciated? We must be very, very careful that we don't put to much emphasis on what they aren't doing, or what they are doing wrong.

If we are constantly complaining, nagging, and belittling and never offering any encouragement and praise, their desire to please will never survive. They will feel that they will never be able to do anything right...never be able to please us, so why bother to try? Parents I implore you to watch your words....be careful what you say and how you say it!

There are many ways that we can encourage our children to have a desire to please. One great way to start is to keep them by our sides during our day to day activities. This should be done from an early age. When we do this we have lots of time for good conversation....to plant little seeds. It also allows for immediate discipline when undesired behavior crops up. While we are spending these precious times with our little ones, we have the opportunity to SMILE at them a lot and praise their efforts as they help us. This sounds so simple right? So why don't more parents do it? Well, for one we can do chores, etc. much faster without little hands. However, I would encourage you to invest the time now. You will see the fruit in the years to come.

Another thing you can do is live your life for Christ with JOY. Be pleasant and positive. Again....SMILE at your children. Make it your goal to smile and encourage the majority of the time. Showing your disappointment with a scolding look or word should be rare! Little ones need to know that we enjoy them and want to be with them. To know they aren't "in the way".

If our children lose the desire to please us, we have lost their hearts. They won't want to hear anything we have to say about the Lord and His ways. Instead they will see us as cruel and unrelenting....always ridiculing them for doing things wrong, for not living up to our standards. Make it your goal to tenderly care for the blessings the Lord has given you. Love them wholeheartedly, correct them when necessary....all the while treading very carefully before the Lord and seeking His grace and direction along the way.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lessons learned in a large family

Large family life is the perfect setting in which to develop Godly character. How we act and how we treat other people is not only important to our testimony, it is important to the Lord. Teaching our children godly character can be very tricky. It means setting a good example for them day after day...modeling the sort of behavior we expect of them. In other words, we have to stay on our knees before the Lord asking him for the grace to keep our own character in check.

In a large family, there are SO many opportunities for each family member to learn SO many things.......patience, love, deference, loyalty, service, diligence, responsibility, peacemaking, orderliness, selflessness....the list goes on and on. It takes a lot of time and a lot of repetition to see the fruit but when our children are grown and teaching the same things to precious blessings of their own, the reward will be that much sweeter.

Now anyone who knows me personally certainly knows that our family by no means has it "all together". We have a looooonnnnngggg way to go in the character department : ) However, the Lord has led me to a place where there is no choice but to work much harder at developing Godly character in my children. I see things in my children that make me cringe and then fall at the feet of my savior and seek his direction....and ask for forgiveness. Why? Well, because I have failed to properly train my children in so many areas AND because so many of the things that make me cringe are things they got from watching me. It can be very painful to witness that's for sure.

You see, back when we only had two or even three children things were different. They were calmer, didn't argue that often, and things were pretty peaceful. However, over the years as the Lord has added more children to our family things got ahead of me and while they are basically well behaved, there are some areas where we could use some work. So character development is high on the list for our homeschool this year. It is coming second only to study of the Word.

Please don't misunderstand me. I know that some changes in character can only come through repentance and putting our faith in Christ....by having a total heart change. But we can help to develop good character but teaching them good habits, through lots of conversation, books, scripture, etc. And what better place to practice patience than in a large family? Oh the opportunities the Lord gives us each day!! His design for the family is so perfect....If only more Christians would realize what a blessing it is to surrender the womb to God.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Growing so fast......





Be careful what you say

I can't seem to let this go today. There is a lot to say about the way we speak to our children...and anyone else for that matter. But in regards to our children, if we want them to continue in the faith we need to be extremely careful how we live out our lives before them. My little blessings are waking up now and need my attention so I will close with a couple verses that sprang immediately to my mind when I finished the previous post.

Provers 15:1
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Colossians 4:6
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Do you love your children?

REALLY love them? Or do you love them as long as they are well behaved and quiet....and possibly in another room so you don't have to deal with them? For moms who are keepers at home especially, loving our children means constant sacrifice, service, and dying to self. Of course my flesh would rather spend hours on end surfing the internet for the perfect homeschool curriculum (as if!) or maybe even cleaning the house spotless and having it stay that way for more than 30 seconds. Loving our children takes time and energy. It takes patience that can sometimes be hard to display.

If we teach our children good habits and obedience from the start, things will be easier of course. But even then there will be many, many moments in the day (especially with a houseful of blessings) where we will need to exhibit GRACE....and a lot of it. You know like when you are just about finished scrubbing the kitchen floor and one of them spills something, or lets the muddy dog in to run across it, or whatever.....and inside you want to scream because you have so much you are trying to get done while the littlest one sleeps? The child looks at you and knows there is a response coming...but what will your response be? Will you scold them and speak harshly? Or will you take a deep breath, tell them you know it was just an accident, and maybe suggest they help you clean it up? What would our Lord do? Certainly not start yelling at them and telling them what an inconvenience they have caused.

Lets face it....young children especially are sometimes loud, clumsy, and forgetful. They are also very tenderhearted and fragile. They have been placed in our care to nurture! Yes we will have to discipline them at times but just a stern look of disappointment can crush a child's spirit. They need to know that we love them no matter what the situation. The Lord has really convicted me in this area recently. We need to be oh so careful how we treat our blessings. We need to watch our words....think before we speak!

Remember this. Children have a unique way of keeping you from spending to much time on yourself...and wasting time that is better spent on something important. Instead of getting irritated about it, take a hard look at the way you are spending your time. It could be the Lord's way of letting you know you need to change a few things : )

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What it means to be "quiverfull"

To be honest, I don't really like using the term "quiverfull" because for many it brings about a lot of false ideas and negativity. The term comes from Psalm 127 -

1Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

2It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

3Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

4As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

5Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

I'm not sure who assigned the name "the quiverfull movement" to those of us who desire to let God control our family size.....but it's not some strange idea that just came around. Letting God control the size of your family and giving him Lordship over the womb is something that started with creation. So many people say those in the so called movement are part of a cult, that the husbands abuse their wives, that the children are treated unfairly....there are so many rumors and beliefs about it. Now I'm sure there are some families where wives are abused and children are treated harshly but that is true of every class and religion.

For most of us, it's nothing more than just letting God be God....letting him choose when and if we have more children. Some people have this false idea that we try to have as many as possible and that those who are blessed with one or two children are looked down upon. It's not a competition, it's just trusting the Lord to do what He sees fit. Honestly the term quiverfull doesn't really fit...because it's not about having a boatload of children, though some do. There is nothing more to it than surrendering the womb to God - whether we have 20 children or none.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Multi-generational faithfulness

My desire for multi-generational faithfulness has been weighing heavily on my mind of late. Just think about it....raising children who cling to the faith, who then raise their own children who cling to the faith, and then those children do the same, and so on and so on. I realize you can never count on ALL of your children, grandchildren, etc. following the Lord but if there were a strong commitment in every Christian home to make this a priority, what a difference we might see in the world!

So, how do we go about raising our children to continue in the faith? I can assure you it won't happen by living a halfhearted commitment to Christ. The Lord doesn't want lukewarm followers. Why would our precious ones want to share our faith if they don't see any excitement about it from us? Do they see you walking with the Lord daily and doing your best to serve Him with everything that you have? Do you take the time to teach them in the everyday moments of life about who He is and what He has done for us? Do they see you living like someone who is expecting the Lord to return at any moment? Have they seen you crying out to God in brokenness and repentance? Are you excited to get to church every week to seek shelter from the world and worship a Holy God?

Do you shower them with the grace your Savior has shown you....or are you always harsh and unforgiving? Do they see you clinging to the Lord and His word during the good times AND the bad? Are you living with one foot in the world and one in the church....walking with Him when it's convenient and doing what you please when it's not? Are you earnestly teaching them from the scriptures at an early age or do you assume they are to young to really understand, and put it off for another day?

We must do so much more if we want to pass our faith on to our children. My earnest prayer is that from this day forward I will pour myself out daily to live for Him and point my children to Him.....to follow the commands in Deuteronomy 6: 4-9:

4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

5And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

6And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

7And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

8And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

9And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Surrending to God's will

Do you ever have the feeling God is waiting on you to do something? We are always asking Him to solve this, fix that, take care of this list....but the longer I walk with the Lord the more I am convinced that sometimes He is waiting on us. Perhaps He has laid something on your heart that takes a real act of faith...or maybe he has revealed something to you in His word that you can't seem to obey. I have come to believe that in order for some problems to be fixed in our lives, we may have to step out in faith first and just do what He has asked us to do....and THEN the blessing or answer will come.

Over and over again I have found myself waiting for the Lord to move in situations in my life.....to end a trial or suffering of some kind. After all, He often uses difficult situations to change us....to shape us on His potters wheel. If we will just trust Him and walk holy and righteous before Him....if we will just surrender to Him in total obedience....won't he be faithful to take care of the rest? I'm certain that he will.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Women were designed to bear children

Research suggests that women who have few or no children, and wait to have them until they are older, have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who start younger and have a larger number of children! Lack of breastfeeding and use of oral contraceptives (the pill) also play a role.

"All women are at risk for breast cancer, regardless of hereditary factors. In fact, no more than 10 percent of people with breast cancer have a genetic predisposition to the disease. Other known risk factors and personal characteristics include personal or family history of breast cancer, high breast tissue density, earlier onset of menstruation (12 years or younger), later menopause (55 years or older), late first-term pregnancy (30 years or older), no children or no breast-feeding, early or recent use of oral contraceptives, more than four years use of hormone replacement therapy, postmenopausal obesity, alcohol consumption, exposures to secondhand cigarette smoke and exposure to ionizing radiation."

http://www.breastcancerfund.org/site/apps/nl/content3.asp?c=kwKXLdPaE&b=70679&ct=90248

"As more countries modernize, more women will enter an increasingly sedentary workforce, delay childbearing, exert control over their reproductive lives, live longer, and eat a more Westernized diet. Their breast-cancer rates will no doubt increase. It is crucial that women's awareness of their risk and their expectations of their government and the medical community regarding detection and treatment increase at a similar rate."

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/358/3/213

These same factors (aside from the pill) also increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

Just one more reason to give in and let the Lord control the womb. His ways are perfect and they don't need to be adjusted. It is our sinful and selfish hearts that need to be cleansed! As much as most women don't like it, we were designed to be keepers at home and raise kids....and I have the scripture to prove it : )

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Where do babies come from?

Seriously....where do they come from? Most followers of the Lord would quickly answer that they come from God. That is absolutely true. So if it's true, why do most Christians use birth control? "Well, because God wants us to use wisdom." That's the answer I've heard over and over again. But if God is the giver of ALL life, why do we need to try and control the number of children we have? Does the Lord really need our help? Or is His wisdom really all we need to rely on?

The Bible shows over and over that He opens and closes the womb....that he is capable of making one fruitful or barren. To put it plainly....the womb belongs to God to use as he wishes. Maybe he will bless us with 20 children, maybe 1. The bottom line is that he is quite capable of giving or withholding conception. He doesn't need us to step in and use our so called "wisdom" in this area. The real blessing comes when we give our bodies to Him willingly, to be used for His glory.

Now I know it sounds ridiculous to most people in this present age to take the chance of having such a large family. But the more I read the scriptures and study some things, the more I see that large families are considered a blessing and something to be desired, not despised. Questions always arise from those who choose to use birth control...things such as "How will I provide for a large family?" or "How will I ever have the patience to handle so many children? The two I have now are more than I can deal with!". The simple answer to those questions is this - You can't but He is able.

The flesh is very selfish....having a large family to care for forces you to die to yourself and serve others. It is good for you! You may have to give up some of the things that most people have become accustomed to in their lives - extra cars, big houses (with empty rooms!), costly vacations, the latest fashions...or maybe cable TV. All of those are things the world chases after and those with a large family are often forced to give them up - it is the Lord pruning worldly desires out of your life. None of those things are needs, they are all things that the flesh wants.

One thing I know is this....the Lord is able to provide for the lives He sends to those who trust in Him. It may not be in the way you expected, but he will do it one way or another. You can't go wrong when choose to trust Him.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Homeschooling decisions and like-minded friends

My head has been reeling this week just thinking about our next homeschool year. There are so many things to evaluate and decisions to be made. What do we know works for sure?.....Do we have time for this?.....Is this what the Lord would have us spend our time studying? The list goes on and on. In the midst of the whirlwind of catalogs and choices my sweet Lord sent a time of refreshing my way!

I was able to talk with my sweet sister in Christ for about 45 minutes on Wednesday. That may sound like no big deal to most people but for my friend and I, that is quite an accomplishment! We are both very busy moms with large families and 45 minutes on the phone is A LOT of time out of our day. It's so nice to be able to talk to someone who is walking the same path and who has the same basic convictions, beliefs, and goals for their family. She and I are in some ways different and in others just alike. It is in those "just alike" areas that I seem to have a very hard time finding any like-minded fellowship. So to be able to chat and bounce around ideas with someone who gets what I'm saying and who has some of the same scheduling problems (i.e. tons of kids...lol) is a tremendous blessing to me.

We were able to share curriculum and scheduling ideas, discipline methods, sheltering concerns, etc. Did we figure everything out? Not by a long shot. But we did end our conversation with prayer and a promise to talk again soon. When we said goodbye and I hung up the phone, I thanked the Lord for the confidence he had given me through this conversation. My strong hope is that my dear sister was as blessed as I was : )

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The high calling of motherhood

I think it's safe to say that most of us know that being a mother is hard work. However, being a mother is more than just hard, it is God's high calling for our lives. Caring for, teaching, nurturing, and serving little ones is kingdom work and it's important to our Lord. In a large family, it is easy to get caught up in the day to day busyness that having many children brings. This makes it easy to forget what a blessing our precious children are! They are each unique individuals, specially created by God and given to us to raise for His glory. The time and energy we invest into these precious gifts may go unnoticed by the world and be seen as insignificant, but our Lord is watching and taking into account every act of service and love. What the world thinks doesn't matter....it is the approval of the King that we should be seeking.

I'm just feeling so blessed to be a mother lately that I'm practically bubbling over with thankfulness to my Savior. The children He has placed in our care really belong to Him. This makes motherhood a job of utmost importance and truly a high calling! When we look into their faces and eyes, may we remember who we are really serving through serving them.











Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oh so faithful

After waiting and waiting....wondering where God was and when he would move, I'm starting to see a few much needed rays of light in the darkness. The answer to my prayers is coming through and it's a marvelous thing to behold once again. God is so good and His faithfulness astounds me. Just like I knew He would, He has shown up on His timetable and the timing is of course perfect! Words are insufficient to describe the wonder of watching the Lord move. It is something that must be experienced so you will then stand in awe of His marvelous ways.

I'm not talking about a short wait here....I'm talking about a LOOONNNGGG wait. There have been many tears shed, many thoughts of giving up, and many one sided talks with the Lord telling Him how I was starting to doubt. Once again, the maker of heaven and earth had a plan all along and it was better than what I could have imagined. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness towards me!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Getting things "fixed"

Of ALL the comments we get about our large family, the ones that imply that one of us needs to get "fixed" perplex me the most. Let's take a look at this logically, shall we? What types of things do we fix? It seems there are two main categories of things.
  • The first would be things that are broken or not working properly such as appliances, car parts, toys, etc. We are clearly not broken and are in perfect working order, so we must not fit into this category : )

  • The second would be problems. Aren't we always looking for a way to fix our problems? When someone asks if one of us is going to get fixed, it says to me that they see a problem with one of a few things: fertility, large numbers of children, or children in general. To me all of these things are blessings that should never be taken for granted. But in today's society these things are seen as problems!
Seeing these things as problems is an area where a heart change is desperately needed. Today, even Christians don't seem to think much differently than the world in the area of family size. It's a slippery slope that starts with birth control to prevent the "problem" and if that doesn't work there is always abortion to fix the "problem". Oh if we would just learn to see fertility and children as blessings and gifts from God, what a difference it could make. I know first hand how the Lord can change the heart regarding these things ; )

Friday, June 26, 2009

Waiting in the wilderness

Waiting is not easy. As humans, we tend to want an answer NOW, relief NOW. I suppose no one really enjoys pain....let's be honest - it stinks. But like it or not, suffering is part of the Christian walk. Suffering isn't the most popular topic among most preachers today. Everyone wants to talk about prosperity. Some claim that God would never want us to suffer. The reality is, we will suffer pain, hardships, disappointments, etc. It's just part of walking with Jesus. What makes people think they can and should escape any suffering when our precious, sinless Savior suffered so miserably for us?

God uses our suffering to mold and change us....to make us run to Him and realize our need of Him. Suffering will make us draw closer to Him! And that is what He wants so much....a close relationship with His children. Sometimes it seems that the waiting for an answer to prayer or an end to our pain and suffering will never come. Waiting for God to move goes against our "I need it now" nature. But God IS faithful and He has a plan....a plan that is much better than what we could ever imagine.

When God does move in my life I know that I will look back and see His faithfulness every step of the way. I will again be amazed at His goodness toward me. Until then, I'm still going to praise Him and bless His name. As Psalm 100:4-5 says

"4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Living in the wilderness

So many people, when they see me with my large family, assume that I'm some kind of super mom. They often think that because I homeschool with such a large brood I must be really organized and have it all together. It simply is not true. I'm always busy, sometimes overwhelmed, and often tired. There are many little people who need my love, patience, and attention. When family and strangers comment that they don't know how I do it my first thought is "If you only knew...." Of course there are times when things are going well and I'm on the mountaintop spiritually. But other times, like now, I find myself in a dry and thirsty land.....the wilderness. When you are in a spiritual wilderness and feel like none of your prayers are being answered, it can make caring for many seem all the more difficult.

For the past few years I have seen more valleys than peaks and it sometimes seems there is no end in sight. There have been many types of struggles in my life lately and I can't seem to quiet the storm some days no matter how much I pray and seek the Lord. God has been faithful through it all, often coming through just when I thought I couldn't hang on for another minute. Am I blessed? Absolutely. Am I struggling? Absolutely.

Yesterday the Lord led me to a passage of scripture that I can meditate on while I'm in the valley. As my pastor often says - "He showed up right on time, with just enough" to get me through again.....

  • 17Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18

Wives....the truth about submission

Ephesians 5:22 commands "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." There is no getting around it as much as modern day feminist thinking wants to do away with this verse. For those of us who are committed to obeying this scripture there are a few things we can be sure of:
  1. It is God's design for marriage
  2. God will bless us in our obedience to His word
However, in Christian circles where women are committed to Godly submission to their husbands there is another "truth" I don't here many people mentioning and that is IT IS SOMETIMES HARD! Many times it's hard because it's simply a battle of the flesh - we want to be in control (which started with Eve). But, sometimes it's more than that.

Sometimes there are spiritual convictions that we have that we feel so certain the Lord has placed in our hearts - only to have our husbands disagree. Now I don't mean things that are clearly sin issues - in those you always obey God first. But you know those "gray areas" that aren't clearly spelled out in scripture as sin, but nonetheless seem clear cut to us? This can be so discouraging and even cause us to question our Lord. Have you ever cried out to Him "Why have you changed my heart in this matter Lord, only to have it cause division in my marriage?" Having more children is probably the most common area I have heard mentioned as a cause of division between spouses. Homeschooling is runner-up. It could even be dressing modestly or whether to wear a head covering. It is just such a difficult thing to deal with at times. Nagging our dear husbands is certainly not the answer but what is?

Waiting on the Lord and leaning on him....that's all we can really do. TRUST, TRUST, TRUST! We have to take comfort in knowing that He has a plan and that he knows the plans he has for our lives. As the head of the home, the husband will be the one that ultimately has to answer for the way he has handled spiritual matters. In the meantime, wives must submit.......and wait for His perfect timing.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Speaking of grace....

For some reason I just can't seem to stop thinking about treating our children with grace. It's burning a hole in my soul : ) When I think of the way we can crush their spirits so quickly with just one harsh word it makes me want to cry out to God for help! Sometimes it can be so hard!

Sometimes a mom or dad may respond harshly or in anger because it's been a long, trying day with a houseful. Or maybe it's because they are all going crazy at once. Perhaps it may be something even deeper.....like the fact that they are behaving like children and some parents just can't stand the way children act. Most won't admit it of course but it's true! Adults need to remember that it was the Lord that created each individual child with their own quirks, strengths, and weaknesses! Some are quiet and some are not. Some have nothing to say and some never quit talking (I can testify to this because five of mine are girls!) Some are very active and some are couch potatoes. It's just the way He made them. Now I know that their is a difference between kids being kids and sinfulness....which of course needs to be dealt with (also with grace as the Lord deals with us). But when they are just being kids sometimes we need to just let it go.

Our children love us so much - something else the Lord put inside of them. They just want to have our attention and feel loved in return. Unfortunately we are sometimes tired and often selfish. We want peace and quiet - something that is hard to find in a houseful of blessings : ) How often do we send them off to another room to play because they are making us crazy only to be irritated with them later when we find they have made a mess? A lot of the things that irritate us could be avoided if we would simply keep them WITH us instead of scattered throughout the house. We would be there to listen to them, laugh with them, and immediately address sin/heart issues. Proverbs 29:15 says "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

It is my firm belief that we need to pour ourselves out serving, training, AND enjoying our children. After all, Jesus told us we must die to self and serve him. How much harder it will be for our children to grow up to serve Him and die to self without the help of a godly example!

Hmmm.....selfishness and not letting God control the size of your family. Another post may be brewing : )

Training our children....

Sometimes it can be so difficult to patiently train our children. There are so many different things we need to impart to them - how to multiply, how to wash dishes, how to follow the Lord! Many days I find myself repeating things that I have said over, and over, and over....and thinking to myself, "When will they get this right?" It dawned on me the other day that our Lord must sometimes feel the same way about us! How often do we fail to get it right?

I have been so convicted about the way I respond to my children when I'm telling them something for the 100th time. It must of course be with patience but also with GRACE. Isn't that the way Jesus responds to us? Always with grace. Oh to be more like Him...it's one of the strongest desires of my heart. Around here with so many little ones, it can seem an impossible task but one thing I've decided to think on when the days are long and difficult is this - If the Lord blessed us with all of these fragile hearts to care for and nurture (and He did) , surely He will freely give us the patience and the grace that we need to raise up a godly seed for His glory. The key is remembering to ask Him daily, before things get out of hand with a barking dog, hungry kids, spilled drinks, and a crying infant.

One other thing I know for sure is that when we fail Him in this area, He will be patient with us and impart His grace once again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Homeschooling: What does it look like?

No two homeschools will look the exactly the same. Each family has to do what works best for them. Some use textbooks, others unit studies, and still others use an "unschooling" approach. There are so many methods and even ways of combining methods that it can be overwhelming to those just starting out. We have only been homeschooling for just over three years and I have to tell ya that we've changed methods and curriculum more times than I care to admit. But ya know what? THAT'S OK! It's just the way it goes....and it's actually one of the benefits of homeschooling!

While each family has their own way of doing things and has to find their own groove so to speak, one thing I know is this - your homeschool shouldn't look like public or private school! For those of us who went to public/private school it can be very hard to adjust to this new way of doing things. If you are new to homeschooling or considering it for your family listen closely to this word of advice - don't try to duplicate the school experience you had. It is not - I repeat NOT - necessary to create a public school environment in your home in order for your children to get a proper education.
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I know first hand how hard it can be to think outside the public school box. After spending years in the system it becomes so ingrained in us! But homeschooling is so much more than just school - it is a way of life, it is spending time with your family, learning to manage a home, it is living, learning, and growing with those who love you the most. Most important to me is being there right alongside my children to apply the truth of scripture to every area of life.

As another "official" homeschooling year comes to an end (we still do some things over the summer), I'm already thinking about next year. One of my top priorities is to have learning become more of a way of life or would it be vice versa - have life become more of a way of learning?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Murder in the church

We've all heard the story of Dr. Tiller's murder. It was a shocking thing. And yes, it was wrong. Killing off abortion doctors is NOT the answer. There is no easy answer for ending abortion, though a change of heart regarding how we view children would be a good start.

Most, as I, were shocked that this man was killed in a church because you don't expect acts of violence in a church. One thing that surprised me initially was that an abortion doctor would even be attending church. It just doesn't seem to "fit" if you know what I mean. However, the thing that I think surprised me the most about this story - and what I haven't heard anyone else mention - is the fact that he was serving in the church. HUH? When did it become acceptable to the church to kill unborn babies? And why aren't more people upset about this? It is horrifying to me that a man who commits such grievous sin on a daily basis would be allowed to hold a position in the church. This speaks volumes about the condition of the church. Does anyone else see where the church has compromised on it's beliefs? Aren't Christians supposed look like Christ and not the world? Does our precious Lord and savior think it's okay to tear babies from the womb? I think not.

What's really frightening is that compromise isn't isolated to this one church....it is rampant. Oh that the church would turn from it's worldly ways and repent! I cannot understand how the leader ship of any church could overlook the murder of innocent babies. When a church compromises on something like this, where DO they draw the line? There is so much more that could be said about this but rather than dwell on the earthly, I will end with these points of praise and thanksgiving:

  1. Praise be to God that I attend a church where the truth is still preached.
  2. Praise God that my once blinded eyes have been opened to the truth.
  3. Thank you Lord that you are our Soon Coming King!

Oh that you would come Lord Jesus!

NOTE: References to "the church" are general, not just specifically to the church where Dr. Tiller was murdered.

The fruit of the womb....

Children are a blessing. Most Christians will agree that the Bible teaches that children are a blessing...and that they come from God. If that is true, then we should see a welcoming attitude and some fruitful abundance in Christian families....right? Sounds good, but the truth is, it isn't happening. This is just another area where "the church" isn't all that different from the world. As a mother of seven children I can testify to this. I can't count the times that i've had comments regarding the size of my family from people in my church! Sadly, many of the comments are the same ones I get from complete strangers at Walmart. I've heard it all..."Wow....big family", "Don't you know what causes that?", "Are you done yet?", "Better you than me." Am I the ONLY one who sees a problem with this? Am I the ONLY one who thinks church should be the last place we should encounter this attitude towards children?

So this begs the question....Why does the Christian church reject the blessing of children? Sound harsh? Just like the world, Christians seek out other blessings - more money, bigger houses, cars, vacations, etc. But children? "Oh...no thanks. We have enough of those." No one seems to think about the fact that all those other so called blessings not only distract us from eternal things, they will also burn up one day. But children? They are eternal. We can spend eternity with them! When we found out we were expecting our newest bundle (now 5 months old!), my husband sent an email out to family that contained this statement:

"If God were handing out $1000 gas cards everyone of you would be waiting in line to get their's. Well God has given our family another gift which is immeasurably greater than that of any material gift of this world...another child."

Isn't that so true? I saved the email he sent that day because it really touched my heart. It's part of what inspired me to start this blog. I love my children. They are a precious gift that, if truth be told, we certainly don't deserve. But God is so generous and so faithful. If he gives us these rewards, he can be trusted to provide for them.

Please don't think that I condemn those who don't feel the same way. I write about children being a blessing to get Christians thinking.... to challenge them to rethink their position on God controlling the family size. Thoughts???