Friday, June 18, 2010

Am I Really Content?

Be careful which sins you allow yourself to think you don't have a problem with...

I tend to think of myself as not a covetous person. After all, I don't crave fancy cars, high end jewelry, or a huge mansion. I certainly don't need the latest gadgets, the newest computer, or designer jeans.

But I have come to realize, during the wee small hours of this morning, that I still do have a covetous spirit...

I think of the strawberry and raspberry plants that I managed to kill, and I wish I knew how to garden.

My four year old daughter tells me that she'd like to make a little yellow jacket for the baby, with little canary yellow buttons sewn on, and I wish I was a knitter, a seamstress, or both.

I visit friend's homes that are beautifully well kept, with a place for everything, and everything in its place, and I wish that clutter wasn't a constant battle for me. I wish it would come to me as easily as it seems to come to them.

I think of women I know whose husband's have home businesses, and I wish we could spend that much time together as a family.

I wish the zoning board would allow us to keep chickens.

I wish I weren't allergic to cats.

I wish I weren't such an untrained housewife, having to learn so much of this as I go, reinventing the wheel along the way, and wondering if I'll even be able to learn how to keep order, and garden, and knit, and sew, in time to teach my daughter.

Not exactly the conventional definition of coveting, but coveting nonetheless.

I recently read a piece written by a woman, describing all the amazing things her mother did as a homemaker while she was growing up. The list was designed to show just how happy and productive a woman's life inside the home can be, but it put me to shame and brought me to tears. How can I possibly be a good wife and mother if I can't can vegetables, keep a beautiful flower garden, sew dresses for my daughter, and teach my children how to play piano, all the while keeping the house company-ready, just inviting opportunities for drop-of-the-hat hospitality?

I'm not good enough. How can I ever be good enough?

Then, it hit me like a train...

Comparing my weaknesses to the strengths of others, while neglecting to be grateful for the gifts and abilities God has given to me, is coveting at its lowest, and truly smacks of idolatry.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NASB)

While I'm pretty sure there isn't a spiritual gift of house-cleaning--and if there is, I certainly don't have it--I think the same principle can be applied. God did not create me to be the clone of Martha Stewart, June Cleaver, or anybody else for that matter. He made me, with all my weaknesses and shortcomings, to honor and glorify Him. 

If I were able to live a life that was my definition of "perfect", what need would I have for God? Surely in my sinful pride I would forsake Him...I would gain the whole world, and yet forfeit my soul (Matthew 16:26).

And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9a (NASB)

Grace. Ah, all comes back to grace. How could I be more blessed than to be an object of His grace? Father, forgive me.

Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2 Corinthians 12:9b (NASB)

Boast about my weaknesses? I confess that I don't think I'm there yet. I'm not even sure what that would look like.

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake;
2 Corinthians 12:10a (NASB)

I read these verses, and words like "distresses"..."persecutions"...and a lump forms in my throat. When have I ever experienced real distress or true persecution?

Content...for Christ's I?...could I really be?

For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10b (NASB)

LORD, I believe. Please help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

May it be so, according to Your Word. Amen.
Thursday, June 10, 2010

Think Fast

Our planning demonstrates our priorities.

As a Christian parent, are your plans for your kids that much different from the rest of the world's?

...are you sure?

Okay, think fast...

What are your plans for your child's college education?

  • Are you making sure he's taking all the correct academic subjects?
  • Did you choose the neighborhood you live in to make sure you were in a good school district?
  • How's that educational IRA looking? Do you have enough money saved?
  • Do you think about which colleges would be best for your child?
  • Is your child involved in extra-curricular activities that look good on college applications?
  • Are you diligent in helping him with his homework? Do you drill him in preparation for tests?
  • Have you talked to him about his areas of strengths--that is, what career field he should pursue?
If you're like most normal parents, you've thought about these things...a lot...even if your children are still small. Americans spend a lot of time preparing their kids for college.

Now, think again...

What are your plans for your child's discipleship--to see that he's a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ?
  • Are you reading Scripture to him daily?
  • Are you studying yourself so that you are prepared to answer his questions about his faith?
  • Do you know what you believe and why you believe it? Does he?
  • Are you praying with and for him--not just at mealtimes?
  • Are you training him to not be merely a hearer of the Word, but a doer?
  • Are you sure that your child understand's the Gospel? Are you articulating it daily?
  • Is your home filled with worshipful music and media? Do you guard against media that dishonor's God?
  • When you study academic subjects, do you take care to always point back to God?
  • When choosing outside activities, do you evaluate them in light of bringing glory to God?
  • When discussing your child's future, do you consider how God might use him to further His Kingdom?

And now, for the honest heart check...

Image courtesy of apoxapox under a Creative Commons license

If you're thinking more about you child's college education than your child's spiritual formation, you have your priorities seriously backwards.

Summer is a time of transition, which makes it a great time to re-evaluate and re-prioritize. 

What can you do, today...this week...this summer...that can bring your priorities back into line?

How will you regain your focus on the LORD's vision for your family?

How might fall be different?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One Million Arrows

Will the world change our children...or will our children change the world? Time is short and lives are at stake. Right now, God is inviting our families to become part of a bigger story—a vision that will engage hearts to make a radical difference. One Million Arrows is an inspirational call to raise our kids to impact their culture, community, and world for Christ. If we want our kids to discover their purpose, if we want them to live with passion for the Kingdom, if we want our family to go down in His-Story, accept the mission...and leave a mark for eternity.

Not long ago, author Julie Ferwerda asked me to review her book, One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children to Change the World. With a title like that, how could I refuse?

American Christians tend to be more concerned with prosperity and happiness then they are about the impact their families are making on the world for the sake of Christ. Regular readers of this blog are no stranger to my opinion that we need to be raising our kids to be fully devoted, world changing, disciples of Jesus Christ, no matter what the cost. This book will help your family to put "legs" on this conviction, giving practical ideas and heartwarming stories about what can happen when parents begin to see the vision that God has for their children.

We want our kids to be more than happy, healthy, well adjusted people who also happen to love Jesus. We want our kids to love Jesus more than life itself, and to be about His Kingdom business!

To be sure, One Million Arrows may be "preaching to the choir" for most of my readers. However, if you have Christian friends of a more "mainstream" mindset, this book may be just what they need to get their families into gear. If you're expecting, as I was, a great emphasis on (1) accepting God's blessing of many children through the womb and (2) homeschooling, you will be disappointed. She does give several examples of homeschooling families who are living the One Million Arrows vision, which was encouraging, but I would have liked to see a greater emphasis on it. She did mention, briefly, the idea of adopting children into our families, and I would have loved to see her get into that idea in greater detail. Additionally, it is the same kind of self-centered, "American Dream"-focused materialism that One Million Arrows rails against that keeps people from allowing God to bless the fruit of the womb. This would certainly be an appropriate topic to consider for a later edition of the book.

One area in which she challenges us, that I do not get into regularly on this blog, is the idea of sacrificially giving to ministries to orphans. She mentions several missions organizations that take in destitute, sick, and unwanted children, and train them up to be disciples of Christ, serving Him among their own native peoples. This is something I had never heard of before, and an idea that I intend to learn more about.

If you're curious and want to learn more, you can read the entire first chapter of One Million Arrows for free, here.

You can purchase your copy through Amazon or other online retailers. Discounts on bulk orders are also available. I am seriously considering asking my church's Christian Education Director to purchase a copy of this book for the parents of every child in our Sunday School program.

You will be happy to hear that all proceeds from the book will go to international orphan ministries!

So, what does God have planned for your arrows?

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About Me

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I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.

My Writing Elsewhere...

Fixing Your Heart on Titus 2

Did you pray for your
husband today?
Monday--His Work
Tuesday--His Integrity
Wednesday--His Mind
Thursday--His Purpose
Friday--His Health
Saturday--His Protection
Sunday--His Faith

Carnival of Homeschooling

Carnival of Homeschooling
Features God Made, Home Grown

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

2009 Nominee!

2010 Nominee!

My Wired Style

My Wired Style
Success is not learned. It is discovered and nurtured. What was your child born to do?

Our Curriculum 2010-2011

Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
Catechism-- "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade
Phonics--Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
(Kindergarten), Year 1 Booklist (1st Grade)
Handwriting--Bible Copywork, made using Educational Fontware
Spelling-- All About Spelling Level 1 (1st grade)
Math--Math-U-See Primer (Kindergarten) , Math-U-See Alpha (1st grade)
World History--Simply Charlotte Mason's Genesis Through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt
American History--The Light and The Glory For Children Series
Art--Interest-led projects and handicrafts
Geography and Missions-- "Hero Tales" by Dave and Neta Jackson, as well as various other missionary biographies, incorporating globe and map study
*We will be studying music and phy-ed., participating in a writing club and nature club, as well as attending various field trips, with our church's homeschool group.*

Disciple Like Jesus

Disciple Like Jesus

Raising Homemakers

Raising Homemakers

Quiverfull Family

The Modest Mom


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