Monday, September 14, 2015

We Are Teaching Our Children What To Value

Every parent is a teacher. Rather you realize it or not, everything you say and do communicates something to your children.We can get so wrapped up in the busyness of life that we forget we have a private audience watching, listening, and imitating us. This truth should grip us! It should cause us to reflect on how prone we are to set bad examples for our children. It isn't enough to just tell our kids to "keep God first". Instead, we must SHOW them what a life submitted to Christ looks like. A life submitted to Christ isn't a life of perfection but one of humility, repentance, forgiveness, and grace. It's the daily acts of dying to ourselves and our sinful desires. We do that not in our own strength but by the grace of God and through the enabling of the Holy Spirit. Our children should see us growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ. They should see us making war against the idols of our hearts. What we value should bear witness to our redemption in Christ. 

We are living in a culture where it is becoming increasingly difficult to think from a biblical worldview and have biblical values. Our eyes and ears are constantly bombarded with news feeds, tweets, Facebook posts, viral videos, TV shows, sports, video games, music, movies, and on and on. While these mediums aren't evil in and of themselves they are all communicating ideas, beliefs, and values. If we are spending the majority of our day being inundated with unbiblical ideas, beliefs, and values, then it is no wonder why we aren't thinking biblically and why our values are no different than non-believers. If we aren't walking by the spirit, then we are walking by some other means that is sure to leave us discouraged, depressed, and feeling disconnected from God. Our spiritual walk with God directly influences our children. I can't communicate the gospel in a Deuteronomy 6 type of way if I myself am not living according to God's word and allowing it to conform my thoughts, beliefs, and actions. What we believe dictates what we value. We are called to raise our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. In such a technology advanced world, we sure have our work cut out for us. There are so many things to distract us from that calling. Martin Luther is famously quoted as saying "I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer. The bible says "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40). 

Tip: Start keeping a weekly log of how much time you and your children spend on social media, playing video games, watching T.V., and/or surfing the internet. This will help you to assess where changes need to be made so that YOU (as parents) are mastering your family's use of technology and not letting technology be master over your family. 

Here are some alarming statistics for us to consider as parents.

"According to a recent report, Always Connected, compiled by the Sesame Workshop and The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, children ages 8-10 spend about five and a half hours each day using media, but are actually exposed to an alarming eight hours a day because they’re media multitasking, like watching cartoons while using a portable gaming system".

"Babies have jumped on the technology bandwagon and of the 25 percent of children under five who use the Internet, 80 percent do so at least once a week. By age three, a quarter of those children go online daily".

"While computer adoption is growing in popularity, TV still reigns supreme. A recent study found that kids of all ages watch approximately three hours of TV each day during the week and four hours on the weekends. While older kids add more screen time on top of that with multimedia, gaming and Internet usage, kids ages 2-5 spend most of their time watching TV, averaging three and a half hours a day, which is also the highest that number has been in the past eight years".

Do any of your kids fall into those categories mentioned in the stats? If so, what are you going to do to change that reality? If not, what are some ways you keep your children from being addicted to technology?

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Distinctively Biblical & Delight Directed Education

Education is a topic that I am constantly thinking about or talking about as a mom who home educates two of my children. Like many, I grew up going to public school so most of my ideas about education were a result of my public school education. When I first began home schooling my oldest child I struggled with what exactly "home schooling" would look like for my family. I felt a constant need to compare how I was educating my son at home versus how public school kids his age were being educated. Quickly, I learned that what worked for some kids wasn't working for my son. Was there something wrong with him? Does he suffer from ADD or ADHD? Should he be on medication as his public school had teacher implied? Was I teaching him the wrong way?

All these questions would make any parent feel inadequate when it comes to home schooling. Fast forward five years later and I am confident that my son doesn't need medication and neither is there anything wrong with his ability to learn. The problem was that I was using man's standard of education and not God's. What I've learned over these years by God's grace is that God is God over everything including intellect. My standard of education should first begin with what God has called me to teach my children according to His word. All the subjects my children are taught should be from a biblical worldview. I'm not seeking to downplay the importance of them learning things such as reading, writing, and arithmetic but rather I want to focus on the "why" behind their education.

I not only want my children to be well educated but I want them to know what type of education is most important; an intimate knowledge of God. Not only is education in America by in large void of God but it's also void of giving children a love for learning. Children are often packed into over-crowded classrooms, forced to learn the same way, not given opportunities to be creative, and forced to learn in an environment surrounded by kids their same age. God created us as unique individuals with unique strengths and weaknesses.

educational system comic

I believe parents should know their children better than anyone else and thus are the most capable in knowing how best to educate their children. God has given us as parents the responsibility of educating our children. We have the freedom to choose the best method to educate our children but it's non-negotiable that it should be in an environment where a love of the Lord and the fear of the Lord is upheld and taught. We're working against raising them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord if we place them in a learning environment where the Lord is mocked, where scripture isn't the authority, where they are taught a secular worldview, where they are spending most of their time being discipled by those who don't love the Lord nor fear the Lord, and where their gifts and talents aren't nurtured. It makes no difference if a teacher is a professing Christian if the curriculum being used is secular and points our children everywhere other than to Christ.

I believe the solution to education in America is for parents to take back control of what our children are learning, how they are learning, and who is teaching them. God has given each of us and our children specific gifts and talents to be used for His glory and as a means to bless our families, our local churches, and our communities. I strongly believe in delight directed study; where I can tailor my children's education to subjects and activities that interests them. Education can be distinctively biblical and delight directed at the same time. Is that easy to accomplish? No, but this task is well worth our time and energy. God is rich in grace! Our children are like delicate flowers that need their soils nurtured, protected, watered, and grown to maturity but we must be dependent on God for all that we are called to be and do as the primary educators of our children. We should also remember that all flowers are not alike. Different flowers call for different types of care. The soil may be different and the type of care needed may be different but the ultimate source of growth, water, is needed for all. Christ is that living water and our children need Him. Education  is much more that teaching my children. I want to leave a legacy of faithfulness to God and a desire for them to  glorify God in all that they do. God has called us to be the substitute teachers teaching the curriculum that the head teacher has left us. God's word is sufficient!  I pray that we are faithfully training our children to look like Christ.

Friday, October 18, 2013

God's Design: The Two Become One

Marriage has been on the chopping block for much of the past few years. Many within our society today want to redefine marriage to include same sex couples. More and more heterosexual couples are choosing cohabitation rather than marriage. Celebrity divorces have become a source of entertainment for the world where everyone is waiting to see whose marriage is going to unravel next. Everywhere you look or listen marriage and what it stands for is becoming muddied by our society.

Does God's design need to be redesigned? Should the definition of marriage change with the times? For the Christian, the follower of Christ, the answer is absolutely not! The culture and the trends do not determine how we view marriage. Marriage is about the gospel. It's a picture of the relationship between Christ and His church. It is a means by which the gospel can be displayed to the world. Even the roles of husbands and wives reflect the relationship between Christ and the church. God didn't plan it that way by mistake. He did it on purpose with purpose. Look at Ephesians 5: 22-23

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. 

That's a clear picture for us of God's design for marriage. However,without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit it is impossible for two sinners to flesh out this biblical picture of marriage. If couples desire to have a God-honoring marriage, they should first be submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ. You can't become one if you're unequally yoked and you won't experience the full blessings of marriage outside of the biblical framework God instituted. The biblical roles of the husband and wife play a vital role not only in reflecting the relationship between Christ and the church but also in the raising of children. One of the greatest privileges of marriage is the gift of children. God's will is that we would raise our children in the discipline and instruction of His word; we ourselves must be disciplined in and receive our instruction from His word if we are to teach our children. What better context in which to teach children the gospel than within the confines of a biblical family structure. What better way to show the world the gospel than how it is fleshed out in families within local churches.

God uses marriage as a means of sanctifying us as Christian husbands and wives. God has used my marriage to expose so many sinful desires and attitudes within my heart. It's so amazing that God uses our earthly marriages to prepare us for the ultimate marriage when we the church, the bride of Christ, will be forever united with Christ! So, as a bride grooming for her wedding day, those of us who have trusted in Christ as Savior are too being prepared. May we boldly defend God's design for marriage and may we display the glories of the gospel to world in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Christ,

Keeping House- How To Manage the Home

I must confess that I enjoy cleaning my house. I don't enjoy doing laundry but I do find a sense of satisfaction in a house that is tidy and smells good; even if it doesn't last very long. Keeping our homes orderly is an on-going duty for all wives and mothers; and dads too! Is there a perfect way to keep house? I don't know if there is such a way but I figured it might be a good idea to put our ideas or methods together to help one another. What are your methods for keeping your house tidy? What do you struggle with the most when it comes to keeping your house organized?

Laundry has always been the most dreaded house duty for me.  There are numerous times that I go into my kids' rooms and find a ton of dirty clothes stuffed in their closet, or under the bed, or mixed in with the clean ones in their drawers. Oh and I've learned that if you put a laundry basket in your kids' rooms most likely they'll just put all their clothes in it just so they don't have to fold or hang their. It seems that I will get the laundry done and then poof there are more loads that need to be done.When someone invents a dryer that folds the laundry, I will be one of the first people in line to buy one. 

My husband suggested that we have a day to fold the laundry together as a family and that has actually been working well for us. During the week I focus on getting everything separated, washed, and dried..and then we pick a day to do all of the folding, hanging, putting away, etc. So what would usually take me days to do, ends up only taking us a few hours. Starting as young as 2, you can have age-appropriate chores for your kids. Focus on the Family has organized this list of age-appropriate chores that I have found very useful in involving my kids with house duties as well as teaching them responsibility. We don't give an allowance to our kids for chores but I'm sure there are families who do so it's up to you. 

Earlier this year, a friend of mine introduced me to freezer meals; which in my opinion are a gift from God for the busy mom. Freezer meals are essential for me as a home school mom because they free up more of my time to be able to focus on my husband and my kids. I basically pick a day; Saturday works best for me, and I cook all my meals for a month putting them in freezer containers. There are freezer to oven containers that are perfect for this sort of thing. This type of meal planning isn't just dinner. Breakfast and lunch can be prepared weeks or a month in advance and then taken out and thawed the day before use. I've gotten lots of ideas for freezer meals at this website. You could also browse the freezer section of your local grocery/whole foods store for ideas about what types of freezer meals you could make. The possibilities with freezer meals are endless! I've found that there are groups of moms who double their freezer meals and then swap meals with each other. 

I hope to hear from some of you on your ideas or methods for managing your home!

Happy Housekeeping:-)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Are You Guarding Your Heart Against Sexual Temptation?

In Song of Solomon 4:12, Solomon describes his bride as a garden, a spring enclosed, and a fountain sealed. What a beautiful picture! For us married women our bodies are gardens that are enclosed, private, and only for our husbands. When you are single or married and give yourself away in an intimate way to a man who isn't your husband you become like a public garden that is without boundaries of protection.  The marriage covenant provides a protective fence for us married women.  For single women, God provides protection for you through his desire for you to remain pure until you are married. Let us not be Christian women who leave our gardens unprotected allowing men to come in and partake of fruit that doesn't belong to them.

Here are a few ways to avoid leaving your garden unprotected:
  • Don't communicate to men around you that you are "available"
  • Don't engage in flirtatious speech, looks, or behavior
  • Don't allow anything about your speech, actions, dress, or attitudes to suggest to men that you are inviting them to "partake" of intimate parts of your body
  • Be discreet and restrained in the way you talk to men
  • Erect (and maintain) adequate "hedges" in your relationships with men; you know what your areas of weakness are so make your hedges based on those weaknesses
  • Dress in a way that helps men to keep their thoughts pure and Christ-centered. You can still look feminine but in a modest way.
  • Don't fuel sensual thoughts and desires through books, magazines, TV programs, music, or movies that are not morally pure.
  • Let a Christian man pursue you not vice versa and only pursue a courting relationship if you both are desiring marriage and are spiritually ready for marriage; women ready to submit as unto Christ and men ready to lead in a Christ-like way.
 This is not an exhaustive list but I believe these are a few ways we as Christian women can guard our hearts and minds against sexual temptation. Marriage is a wonderful gift from God with many wonderful benefits. Singleness, is also a wonderful gift! Rather we are are single or married let us be women who seek to glorify God not just in word but in deed also.

1 Peter 3: 3-5  "Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God". 

*Some of the above suggestions were taken from self-examination questions asked in "Becoming A Woman of Discretion", by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pursuing Biblical Manhood

I came across this article as I was researching biblical manhood and womanhood and I want to share it as I believe it will bless those who read it. It's a little lengthy but well worth the time!

by Ray Van Neste

What follows is an address1 that I gave to some young men at my college who asked me to speak to them about the issue of pursuing manhood. This is an important topic not least because of the confusion that seems to reign in the minds of so many about what manhood is and how one progresses well in this journey. I have seen Garrison Keilor quoted as saying, "Manhood was once seen as an opportunity for achievement, but now seems like a problem to overcome." So though my comments are directed at college-aged young men, they may find application to men of other ages as well.
I know some have told you that the way to take leadership, step up, and progress in manhood is to get married. However, I must differ. Marriage is the last thing some of you need to be thinking of just now. You need to grow up first. I affirm what I think these others are trying to say-start preparing yourself for marriage. Move "Halo" down your list of priorities in order to begin thinking about what sort of vocation you will pursue, how you're going to pay your bills, etc. But much progress in this may be needed before you really start looking for a wife. If you are not right now getting your class work done, and fulfilling your comparatively light responsibilities as a single student, then don't even consider the prospects of marriage. Instead start working on growing up. 

Our culture is infatuated with youth and encourages you not to grow up. After all, it says, the glory is in the youth. If you would be men, you must reject this siren song and swim against the tide. You must diligently seek to throw off immaturity and to grow up. Remember the one boy who never grew up was Peter Pan-and in case you haven't noticed, his role has typically been played by a woman. The chase for perpetual youth is never manly. The other example of avoiding the effects of growing up is the medieval boys choirs. To maintain the high voices of the boys as they aged, the boys might be castrated. Again, avoiding maturity is emasculating. 

So my main point to you is work on growing up. It does not "just happen." Examples abound of physically mature males who have never truly attained manhood because they failed to mature in any way other than physically. So, what does it look like to grow up in manliness? No doubt this could be discussed in many ways. I'll just take a stab at several that I think are important based on my own reflections on scripture and my observations of the young collegiate men whom I teach. 

Take Responsibility/ Reject Passivity
With our modern invention of "adolescence" (which now includes the college-aged male) you can be encouraged to float along without much real responsibility, just get by in classes, major in play, be a goof-off, sample the girls to whatever extent you can, and not really consider responsibility. 

However, if you would be a man you must shake off the doldrums. I enjoy life, like to laugh and to joke (even if not everyone appreciates puns!), but that is different from being a total goof-off. It is not until there is a weightiness in your core that you really have the opportunity and the privilege to engage in playfulness, too. When I was in Scotland, there were a number of good guys who were there studying at the same time I was. We would get together at various times and have an ongoing conversation about the man of gravitas (Latin for "weightiness"). The word refers to a certain "bearing" or dignity. The man of gravitas is not one who cannot joke, but one who has a weightiness in what he says, one who has an opinion that matters based on his proven character. We must establish that. If we are not moving in that direction, then we are not maturing. Laugh when it is appropriate, but if you can't be serious at the proper times you are immature. You don't need to jeopardize any woman by talking about a serious relationship with her. 

Find ways now to discipline yourself in being responsible. Here are some ways: 

Do Your Work
Take seriously your current obligations. Learn and discipline yourself to complete your school assignments and to do them well. Be on time at work and in class. This may seem pretty basic, but it is an essential starting place. I challenge your manhood, right here, right now, if you are not, on a regular basis, getting your work done and turning it in on time. We say we want to take on the responsibility of leading a family or assuming leadership at a job, but we can't do an assignment and turn it in? It starts with the small things. If we are faithful in little, we will be faithful in much. 

Own Your Failures
Reject the blame game. When the buck is passed, it is always done with a limp wrist. If you did not get your assignment done on time, own up to it and drop the lame excuses. Refusing to own your failures-playing the blame game-is an abandonment of manhood. You cannot lead and avoid responsibility at the same time. Face it like a man. If you simply did not discipline your time sufficiently to accomplish the task, don't spin it with some religious sounding excuse. If your roommate was in a crisis, I am glad you were willing to stay up all night last night to talk with him. But your paper is still due today. You should not have waited until the last day to complete it. 

We see this at the Fall (Genesis 3). When God comes, he calls Adam to account, but Adam passes the blame to Eve. However, Paul makes it clear that the ultimate responsibility for the sin rested on Adam (Rom 5:12-21). Avoidance of responsibility is an old and pernicious sin which will neuter you. Fight it! 

Expect to Work
God made you to work. Reject laziness. See laziness not merely as a foible but as damnable sin, a dangerous cancer that can eat away your soul. Laziness and avoidance of work is a typical sin for men, so wage a particularly diligent and merciless war against it in your own soul. 

Yes, workaholism is another error that affects men, but the answer is not laziness. In fact workaholism is often a way of avoiding the really challenging work of caring for and leading one's wife and children. 

Work is good and ennobling. If this is not the way you think, change your thinking to adopt this biblical view (Col 3:23). Reject the "live for the weekend" mentality. Instead, begin asking God and godly leaders what work He has for you to do. Find your calling. Yes, I know He created you for His glory, to be in relationship with Him and with others. But He also made you to work, and that work will be one main way in which you glorify God. For what task were you created? To what work will you commit yourself? You need to have some clear thoughts about this (not a full blueprint) before you can seriously consider marriage. Before you should take a wife you need to know where you're taking her. You need to know what you intend to do in life. O f course, God sometimes shifts things, and things change. But you need to have a goal. You need to know, to the best of your ability, under God, and in concert with godly, wise counsel, where you are headed. 

Reject the Temptation to Whine and Complain
One of the most "un-manly" things you can do is whine. I am not saying, "Don't admit weaknesses and seek help." No. Do that. But I am talking about whining, about whining about how things are wrong for you instead of making the most of your situation. Part of manhood is initiative; so begin to practice this by seeking solutions rather than sniping and complaining. This produces leadership. 

Embrace Commitment 
The world will tell you life is found in freedom from any constraints, obligations, or commitments. It is a lie. What this leads to is purposelessness. We are often given the picture of manliness in the lone wandering hero. This is false. 

This aversion to commitment and obligations is actually just a form of cowardice. It is easy to play games and go through motions. In isolation you can keep your sins hidden, deceive yourself with an exalted view of yourself, and live in fantasy. The real work is in settling into specific situations, working out issues, helping people, having to face your own sins, deficiencies, and failures, and staying at it over the long haul. And, this is where real life is found. You are not a drifter born to walk alone. You were made for community. Of course, part of what I have in mind here is to begin thinking not of various women to entertain but of the prospect of settling down with a specific woman. They call it "playing the field." Typically it's just sin. Don't toy with women. They were not created for your amusement. You know the stories of guys dating various girls, or at least keeping a number of girls "on the line," giving them just enough interest to keep them close for whenever he wants to hang out with them. Guys like this need other guys to rebuke them and run them off. 

But, how do you begin this? How do you prepare? First, invest yourself in a local church. Learn there to live in community with other people, to build significant relationships, to work through problems, to express your needs and to meet the needs of others. The church is the training ground for life in general. Then learn the fact that commitment costs. Stand by your word. Realize that every decision to do one thing is a decision not to do several others. So do not simply clutter your life with miscellaneous things. Take responsibility and commitment to bring some focus to your life. What are you about? 

All these issues are inter-related so you will see some overlap here. But Ephesians 5 shows clearly that masculine leadership involves the willingness to sacrifice. The self-centered environment we live in will not encourage you in this direction. We must crucify the idea that says, "I deserve it all, and it should not hurt me to get it." This is stupid as well as sinful. But it is common. I see it when a student says, "Surely you won't penalize me for my paper being late (or work hurriedly done) because I did not have enough time. You know I have to have a social life." My answer to such a student is, "No, I do not understand; and, no, you do not have to have a social life every day. It would not hurt you to shut yourself away for a few weekends and learn to work hard on something, to learn to pay the price to succeed." 

If you are going to invest your life into something that matters, you will have to make sacrifices. In the future, that will involve laying aside some things you would like to do in order to work around the house, to help your wife with some things that, in themselves, don't particularly interest you, to lead your family. 

Elisabeth Elliot put this well:
There is no getting around the fact that to give yourselves wholeheartedly to the rearing of children will eliminate you from a lot of activities your friends are enjoying and often from activities that seem to be obligations-not merely social, but perhaps church, family, business and civic ones. You will have to ask God for wisdom to choose and the guts to stick to the choice. (Don't pay attention to you-owe-it-to-yourself talk. You owe nothing to yourself, everything to God.)2
But that is in the future. For now, learn to live out of principle and not out of unbridled desire. Learn to say no to yourself. 

Also on this point, it is true that masculinity involves the idea that men protect women and children. I know this is terribly non-"PC" and, to many people, passé. That does not change the truthfulness of it, however. Nor does it change the fact that most women deeply appreciate this unless they have trained themselves not to. 

"Women and Children First"
Although Hollywood perverted the story of the Titanic into class warfare and peepshow thrills, the real story of the doomed ocean-liner includes the cry, "Women and children first," as the men on board, with only few exceptions, yielded their seats on lifeboats so that women and children could be rescued. Men looked into the eyes of their wives and children to speak tender words of comfort and encouragement before sending them out to safety knowing full well that they, the men, would die in those waters and never see their loved ones again. In the end, nine men died for every one woman who died in that disaster. The then-current First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Taft, honored this spirit of manhood by mounting a national campaign to raise private funds for a monument that would carry the inscription: "To the brave men who gave their lives that women and children might be saved." Mrs. Taft explained, "I am grateful to do this in gratitude to the chivalry of American manhood."3
This spirit of "Women and children first" came from an earlier disaster, the sinking of the HMS Birkenhead:
In 1852, the British troopship H.M.S. Birkenhead was traveling to South Africa when she hit a ledge and foundered. On board were more than seven hundred men, women, and children. With only twenty minutes left before she would sink, the decision was made to place all women and children aboard the few life boats. The men would remain behind and face the man-eating sharks circling the disaster. Hundreds of men drowned or were eaten alive in full view of their children, but not a single woman or child perished that day. In past years, this story was known by every schoolboy and girl.4
What does this kind of heroic sacrifice look like right now in the day-to-day life of young men in college? We will likely not face situations like the Titanic or the Birkenhead (though those men probably did not anticipate facing these situations either). It is worthwhile considering these grand examples, though, because the big picture effects how we act in the small things of life. Here are some ways we can live this out. Guys, take the risk in relationships. You initiate and make the approach. That way, she can be safe and does not have to take the risk of stepping out first. Also if she feels the need to break it off, she is free to do so even without explanation. You take the brunt of it and let her go unscathed. 

In a small way, you could include here opening the door for ladies, waiting for her to enter a door first, walking on the traffic side of the street, placing yourself between her and any potential danger, etc. 

I'll close with this story. Just this last weekend my family and I had gone to the mall (which I sometimes consider part of my sacrifice). We have six children, two of whom are under two years old. As we left, in the cold, dark and drizzling rain, we realized we had two dirty diapers. So, as we told our four older children to file into the vehicle, my wife and I were side by side using the back of the vehicle as a diaper changing station. Instead of dueling banjos we had dueling diapers, working quickly in the cold and rain. 

I began to think, "Just one week ago I was at a professional conference in San Diego. I was in a number of settings with very important people. I was sitting next to a very well respected pastor who was saying something appreciative about a paper I had just presented. I talked to several prominent people in my professional world. I was hobnobbing. I was talking about future writing projects and the like. But now here I am in the dark, cold, drizzly rain changing a diaper. This is where in the movies they say, ‘Well, you didn't think you would end up here, did you?' When you were young everything seemed great and you had big plans, but here you are bogged down with a wife and six kids." 

But I thought, "No, that couldn't be any further from the truth!" I was glad to get to go to the conference, but this is real life. The everyday labor with my family is far more heartening and joyful to me than any of those other things. This will have far more impact in God's Kingdom. The everyday, inglorious work I do, the tasks of teaching, training, and changing diapers-that matters far more. For those of you who will marry, this is where you are headed. Manhood is embracing everyday responsibilities, living out commitment, being willing to sacrifice, so that your cultural engagement really happens in your family. The most significant culture you are involved in is your own home, your own church, living out practical godliness . . . with dirt and other items under your fingernails, so to speak. It is godliness in the everyday sphere of life. This is real manhood being lived out.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Homemaking Isn't A Luxury!

There's a misconception that being a homemaker is a "luxury" as President Obama and others have said recently.  Those who say that, speak as if homemaking is a privilege that only a select few can afford. That is far from the truth! Being a homemaker is a sacrifice that many women willingly and joyfully make for the good of their families and prayerfully for the glory of God.  We sacrifice so that we can invest our time and  energy into our husbands and children. We desire to build a legacy of faithfulness to God. You could say we are willing to go to sacrifice whatever we have to in order to bring up our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

For me as a Christian wife and mother, I'd rather invest my time, energy, and talents in my family rather than a career outside my home. I haven't always felt that way but by God's grace He has changed my heart, He's constantly molding my thoughts, and is giving me a biblical and eternal perspective on my life and on my calling as a wife and mother. When a person is old, on their death bed, or suffering the lost of a child or spouse they never say "I wish I'd spent more time on my job". No, they express " If only I'd spent more time with my husband or my wife and my children".  I don't want to live with any regrets.

 I want to have a marriage where we're not just existing together but where we are sacrificially loving and serving one another, and fleshing out the gospel before the world;that requires my time and energy. I want our home to be a place of joy and delight in the Lord not a pit-stop where we come to eat, shower, and change clothes; that means I need to be home to create that type of atmosphere.  I don't want to wake up and realize that my children's peers have more influence over them than I do; that requires me winning my children's hearts now while they are young. I don't want to miss out on the important milestones in my husband's and children's lives; that requires that I am available to them when they need me. 

I don't want to ever be too tired from a career to listen to the worries, joys, and sorrows of my husband and children; this requires that I not be involved in too many activities . I want to be available to rest daily at the Savior's feet through prayer and bible study; that requires me having flexibility and control over my schedule in order to make that a priority.  I want to be a suitable helper to my husband and teacher of God's truth to my children. All those things are worth the sacrifice of not buying a bigger house, luxury cars, having a successful career, and going on yearly vacations. I do what I do out of an agape love for my family.  This is a necessity not a luxury.