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.....