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???