Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why God Has Not Called Me to Get a Job (Part 3)

Should you get a job in this declining economy?  That's the question of the day to the married woman with children.  

I am going to dive right into the biblical verses to help you with your decision.  If you have not read Part 1 and Part 2 of Why God Has Not Called Me to Get a Job, please take the time to read them so you'll know where I’m coming from.

For many days now I have prayed for the Lord to guide me as I write this post because I know some women may be angry and perhaps even a bit offended by what I write, however, that is not my intention.   I am sure there are many of God’s beautiful and wonderful daughters out there working real hard to help provide for their family due to the economy.  There may even be some sisters reading this that may be going on one job interview after another, and others still wondering if they are doing the right thing by not getting a job.  Let me reassure you that I truly do understand your anxieties, fear and pain.

If you haven't been following my story, just this week we moved out of our home that was foreclosed up and the dress you see in this picture is my beautiful wedding dress that was hung to sell at our yard sale a few weekends ago.  Two things I held dearly in my heart are now gone, yet, I have still not gotten a job and below I will explain the Biblical reasons why not.

With sadness in my heart these things are no longer mine. 

First, let me begin by telling you that I am not worthy to type His words, His love, His admonition, His charge, nor His exhortation to you.  Who am I but just another one of His daughters?  Yet, He has called me to write this, a letter that may convict some. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”  Hebrews 4:12   

But before I go any further, let me first state that whether we work outside of the home or stay at home, we are all on the same team.  Team Jesus.  Jesus said, "For he who is not against us is on our side.  Mark 9:40

Note:  For the woman who is angry when she reads this: please know that the Word of God does NOT condemn, but rather it convicts the heart as the Holy Spirit moves throughout your soul.  (Satan is the one who condemns.  Jesus NEVER does.)  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”  Romans 8:1

I want to make sure this counsel and encouragement is very clear.  I am writing to the married woman who is still raising children.

This post is NOT written to:
·       Single women
·       Single mothers
·       Widows
·       Married women with adult children

Let’s dig into God’s Word to help direct us for our role as a mother.  We’re going to start at the beginning of the Bible in the book of Genesis, chapter 3, verse 16:
·       To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."

“In pain you shall bring forth children” is the portion of Scripture that I’d like to discuss right now.  Notice that the verse does not say, ‘babies’?  Generally speaking, when we think of this verse, we just associate it with labor pains as we are about to give birth to a ‘baby’, yet the verse clearly states, 'children', which is obviously older than a baby.  The verse is not referring to labor pains only.  Here's something else for you to ponder...And why would you have sorrow with 'conception'? (unless of course you weren't looking to 'raise' another child!)

Now comes the word ‘sorrow’.  Let me ask you a question.  If you gave birth to a living, breathing baby, did you equate that day as a day of sorrow?  I think not!  The ‘sorrow’ did not come until we started raising the child, (bringing forth, if you will.)  

'In pain and sorrow' is part of the curse for the woman, because we are bringing up ‘children’.  Motherhood is hard work.  We are shaping a child and dealing with their behaviors and attitudes; it's an ongoing process.  If any of you have children, you know that when the baby was born you received them with great joy, not sorrow.  (For those of you who have two year olds or teenagers you might have more sorrow than joy right now.) 

Now the verses below deal with our role and responsibility as a wife and a mother:

·       "She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27
·      “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things-- that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed."  Titus 2:3-5

The Word clearly states that as a married woman with children we are called to be homemakers and we are to watch over our household.  Now, in our society that position is frowned upon because the 'world' does not hold that position in high esteem.  If you are a very intelligent person, perhaps you feel like you'd be wasting your time by being a stay at home mom rather than pursuing a career.  Don't be fooled by Satan's lie if you believe that.  Sorry, but society is not very bright! I, the Lord, speak truth; I declare what is right.”  Isaiah 45:19

Where does it say in the Titus 2:3-5 verses that a woman should be a homemaker ONLY if her husband makes enough money for her to stay at home?  It's not there ladies!  Don't be deceived.  God's Word is clear.

The Almighty God wrote those verses.  The Great I Am etched out His perfect plan for your role as a wife and mother.  Don't just discard it and think that you need to aspire to be something more.  It is not enough for you to be in the center of His will?  “All His words are true.”  Psalm 119:160  

Since I am a married woman with children that I am still raising, I am going to give you the answer as to why God has not called me to get a job....
"so the Word of God is not blasphemed."  Titus 2:5

Bottom line:  if you are married with children that still need to be raised, it is a part of God's plan for you to be the one to raise them.  I tried to tell you earlier that this post might cause you to be angry...I guess I should've told you to have some chocolate by your side while you were reading it!

Just because the economy has changed that does not mean the Word of God has.

The position a wife and mother holds will receive eternal benefits that a paycheck here on earth can never measure up to.

Don’t be misled.  Even if other Christian, married women with children are getting jobs during this economy that does NOT mean its God’s best for your family! 

I know you may feel as if you're drowning, just let go and surrender to Him!  Loosen your control and He’ll rescue you because He is your Life Preserver.  Your faith will go deeper as a result of this.  His glory will be revealed through you and He will do miracles, because He is the Miracle Maker!

You might not think I don't understand your pain and uncertainty.  But I do! I sit here typing this post from my bedroom, but not just any bedroom because this room is not my home but a home of dear sweet friends of ours.  Although I no longer have a house to call my own, I look to the Heavens where my permanent dwelling place will be.

Yes, I can get a job so I can live in my own home and still keep my possessions but I would be outside of God's will for my life and no amount of money and a false sense of security is worth it for me because I would rather be obedient to my Savior, my King and my God.

Take my life dress, my home, my possessions and let it be yours.  Use them for your glory.  Yes, there are tears in my eyes when I type these words but one day every tear of mine will be in His bottle.  He laid His life down for mine and the least I can do is give up a few worldly possessions to be the woman, wife and mother that He has called me to be.  Scars and pain are part of a greater plan.  The narrow path is certainly not the easiest path, but it is the path that will lift Him up for all to see.

Be in prayer about your decision.

Heed His Word because there will be ramifications if you don't.  (I will address the negative impact that working outside of your home can have on your marriage along with the relationship you have with your children at the end of this series.)

Take a leap of faith. 

Be strong in the Lord.

You won't regret it.

Join me soon (from my little bedroom) for Part 4, where I'll address, if your husband wants you to get a job.  Plus, I will tackle the following verses:
·       She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.  Proverbs 31:16
·       She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.  Proverbs 31:24

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why God Has Not Called Me to Get a Job (Part 2)

Well, this sure is a popular topic!  I can't believe how many people have read the first part of this post.  I guess in today's economy it's hard not to be concerned about one's financial situation.  Today we'll pick up on Part 2.  If you missed Part 1 of Why God Has Not Called Me to Get a Job, I encourage you to take 5 minutes to read it here so you’ll know where I’m coming from.

Like a father showing his daughter new things she had never seen, the Lord took my hand and revealed His Truth to me. We walked together, Hand in hand.  I am forever grateful that He didn’t send anyone to minister to me.  He wanted me all to Himself, right by His side so I could learn from the Master himself.

His Word does not return void.  Isaiah 55:11
I almost felt like a young girl climbing up on the Lord’s lap as He was reading me a bedtime story, (although at times it felt more like a horror story!) a story on how to live a God-fearing life as a young woman.  

So from Feb. thru June of 1997, I was unemployed going on one interview after another, only to hear the words “You are over qualified and basically, you can do my job”, or they would tell me I was their second choice.

Hmmm, I wonder if not getting those jobs had anything to do with the fact that before each interview I would pray, “Close this door Lord if this is not the job YOU want me to have.”  Of course that's why!  The Lord was protecting me AND pruning me.  He had just the right job in mind for me, plus He was chipping away at my pride.

During those months I had a lot of free time on my hands so….

I dug into God’s Word.  I got myself a study Bible with a commentary included in it so I could understand the Word better.  I used the concordance at the back of the book although I don’t think I really understood the concept of it too well.  In my mind it was kinda like a dictionary of sorts. 

I did, what I call, my own Bible study for women.  I looked up every passage in the Bible that had the word ‘woman’ or ‘female’ in it to find out what the Word of God had to say about it.  I eventually looked up what the Word had to say about a ‘wife’.  (Deep down inside my heart I had a longing to be married to a wonderful, godly man…hmmm, did that even exist?)

Here’s what I learned:
  • ·     And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."  Genesis 2:18  A helper?  What?  I’m not a helper, that role is so beneath me.
  •  ·       And the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."  Genesis 3:13  Way to go Eve!  Thanks a lot.   
  • ·       To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."  Genesis 3:16  Okay, so kids equate pain and my husband will rule over me??  And why would I want to sign up for this job?   
  • ·       “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”  Ephesians 5:22   Ouch!  I need to do what? 
  • ·       Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Ephesians 5:24
  •  ·       Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Colossians 3:18

I was finding that the more I read God’s Word, the more I read that a wife was to submit to her husband. Just for the record, I wasn’t too fond of that idea!  I didn’t submit to men.

Well, I thought, I won’t be walking down the aisle anytime soon because I was not about to submit to some idiot that might lead me off the edge of a cliff! 

Then I came across the infamous Proverbs 31 passage.  That was a shocker of a read.  Really, ‘she makes linen garments’?  I didn’t even know how to sew on a button.
  •   ·       “The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things-- that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”  Titus 2:3-5  Homemaker?  Really Lord?

I had so much to learn and so much pride that needed to be chipped away. 

So I started to connect the Biblical dots as I applied them to my life and this is what I realized:

  • If I made the decision to become a Christian wife, then I was ultimately placing my life into my husband’s hands for him to lead me.  Yea, well I’m not okay with that.  
  • I had to be obedient to my husband.  That was funny.  I think I chuckled a little bit when I read that verse, but then I think I got a little angry with God on that one.  (No wedding bells in my future… or so I thought.)

  • Then I read that I would be the maid!  I didn’t know how to keep a home.  I certainly didn’t know how to cook either and I wasn't about to learn!

  • If I had kids, it would be painful.  It would hurt when I birthed them and I was the one who was supposed to raise them. That was a scary thought!
    I fully understood what the Scriptures had to say about the role of a wife so I quickly became content in my singleness stating, “I would rather remain single and serve the Lord than settle for just any man.”  “If and when I say, ‘I Do’, my husband needs to be all that and then some.”

    And just for the sake of it, I couldn't keep myself from reading what 'the man' had to do.  What was his curse, role and responsibility?  I found the verse below to be very interesting.  The curse for the man was for him to toil the field, not the woman.  Something I pondered, but nothing I really needed to think about since I wasn’t married. 

    And to the man he said, "Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.  Genesis 3:17

    All those Scriptures were so much for me to take in.  It was something I needed to learn because based on how society (Satan) pushes a woman to ‘have it all,” you know, the career, the husband, the kids, the house, etc.
    I felt that I was raised to be like a man, not a woman.  My desire was to be the woman that God created me to be, not who I created myself to be or who 'the world' says we, as women, should be.
    Regardless of how I was raised and what I had pursued for many years, I realized that God was and still is A LOT smarter than I am.  Okay Lord, I will learn to be a Godly woman.  "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.  Psalm 111:10  

    Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.  Do not let your adornment be merely outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel--rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.  For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands.  Now I am supposed to have a gentle and quiet spirit as well?  Okay now, that is asking just way too much!  And again, with the stinkin' submissive thing!  Really Lord, how come you have to tell us sooo many times?  (There's actually a reason why, but that will have to wait until I write my posts on Marriage.)

    During this time of studying God's Word, I get a job.  Not a job I wanted by the way.  It was, in my opinion, a job that was beneath me.  (chip, chip, chip).  If I remember correctly the way it was advertised it was for a secretarial type position.  I'm not getting some man his coffee, I thought.  I had the job announcement and application in my car for well over a month.  I wasn't interested, yet, I had exhausted all my avenues and the Lord closed all the doors.  I didn't really have a choice so I applied.  

    I went to the first interview COMPLETELY uninterested giving short, one word answers.  The Human Resources Director said, "I think you are just what we are looking for."  That's nice, I thought with disgust in my heart.  She had me interview with the Vice President that same day.  (He would be the one I would be getting coffee for.)

    As I was ushered into his office, I noticed the Bible verse plaque that was displayed on his desk.  It took my breath away.  I was thrilled to be around another believer, another  follower of Christ.  I interviewed with him.  He tells me I am skilled enough to do his job.  I smile, yet, I started to feel somewhat honored that he said such a kind thing to me. We spoke some more.  He tells me he wants to hire me but he wants to change the position to fit my skills.  Wow!  I was floored.

    A few days later I show up for my first day of work but just before I head inside, I am sitting in my car thanking the Lord for the job that He has given me.  I cry because I am sooo humbled and honored that the Lord would have chosen me- a sinner, for a job like this.  So, are you wondering what the job was for?
    ·       It was for a Christian organization.
    ·       It employed believers.
    ·       Daily staff devotions were a part of the 'work' day.
    ·       They did community outreaches where the Gospel message was presented.
    ·       They fed the homeless.
    ·       Gave clothes, shoes and school supplies to needy children.
    ·       The organization had a mission on skid row in Los Angeles.

    God chose me.  The sinner, the proud me, to be a part of His work.

    Did I say I was humbled and honored?  
    With a humble heart, I gladly served my boss his coffee, (even when he told me not to because he would remind me that I  wasn't his secretary.) (smile)  My response to him:  I am a professional servant for Christ. 
    I was in the process of being transformed into a Godly woman....which was a good thing because I met my husband 3 months later.  (Well, that's not quite true, I met him when I was 14 years old and he was my volleyball coach; a coach I never wanted to listen/submit to.) God sure does have a sense of humor!

    Join me for Part 3, where I am going to break down some Scriptures and help you apply them to your own life.
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    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Why God Has Not Called Me to Get a Job (Part 1)

    Over the last four years, my husband and I are asked repeatedly by Christian family and friends as to why I have not gotten a job.  After all, we have lost our home and we’ve been struggling financially for several years now.  I thought it was a great question and I will answer it, but I can’t do so in just one post so I will write several parts to Why God Has Not Called Me to Get a Job

    Let me take you all the way back to the beginning of my training/upbringing as a young girl.

    When I was just seven years old I told my father and mother that when I get married the man is going to take my last name because I am not going to take his.

    My parents constantly told me to get excellent grades, get into a good college, and choose a lucrative career path.  So off to college I went, seeking a career in mind.

    At age 25, I said, “I am not about to sit home and listen to some man tell me what to do.  I’m certainly not going to have babies and wipe their snotty noses and then later bake some cookies like ‘Susie the Homemaker.’  I am a career woman!” 

    Being in the business world was very natural for me.
    I had very strong convictions!  At that time in my life I was living with my boyfriend and my career was my life.  Being the manager of a Chamber of Commerce at 25 years of age was who I was.  Business came easy to me.  I was a natural at it.  It was my strength and it became my identity.

    Me, the strong-willed, determined, powerful, and focused executive.  My life consisted of board meetings, town hall meetings, grand openings, luncheons, political fundraisers, etc. I lived and breathed business.  In fact, my entire wardrobe was business suits, dresses, and high-heeled shoes.  Except for a few pair of sweatpants, you wouldn’t find any casual clothes in my closet. 

    Note:  I broke up with my boyfriend shortly after I made the above statement.  He wanted to marry me and have babies but I wasn’t interested in marriage.  Been there, done that.  (That’s another post.)

    So, I now live alone and God gets a hold of my heart.  I become saved but I have no idea how to follow Christ.   The people that I called friends were either business associates or men.   In fact, it was a man that I met on a blind date that eventually led me to the Lord! 

    Okay, great.  I am now saved.  My sins were forgiven and I learned that Jesus loved me.  Now what?  Where do I go from here? 

    I had so many questions.  What were the Gospels?  Why is it called the book of Romans?  Why am I supposed to read the book of John first?  What was the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament?  What exactly is a testament and why is it called that anyway? 

    Did I say I had a lot of questions?  I did.  I was (and still am) a ‘why’ child.  You know the one.  Why is the sky blue?  Why is the earth round?  Why do we have to do this or that? 

    None of it made any sense to me. 

    I went from church to church to church seeking to find answers on how to live my life for Christ, yet all that I would hear is that Jesus loved me and my sins were forgiven

    Is that all there was to know?  In my mind it didn’t add up.  The Bible is a thick book and I thought surely there was more for me to learn.  The messages I would hear every Sunday morning seemed very basic.   I needed to know how to walk, people!

    During that time, God did not feel the need to bring Christian women into my life to show my how to follow Him.  The Lord, being fully aware of who He made me to be, knew I would ask those ‘why’ questions.  I guess He felt it was best if I got the answers straight from Him and His Word, that way He knew I wouldn’t argue about it! (smile)
    So it was just me and my Bible as I searched for answers, and there were a few verses that I processed over and over in my mind.

    “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  John 15:4

    Remain in Christ….? Hmmm, if I remain in Him, then He’ll remain in me.  Okay.  I want to remain in Christ because I wanted Him to remain in me, but what does that look like, I thought? 

    I had no one to ask that question to, except God Himself.  I don’t know what that looks like Lord, but I am going to do the best I can in my limited understanding to remain in You.  Help me to do this Jesus.

    Then I came across this verse:

    “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.”  Mark 12:30

    How on earth do I do that?  How do I love the Lord with all my mind?  Lord show me.

    My mind was CONSUMED with work.  In fact, I had so many responsibilities that I was literally becoming dizzy and lightheaded, so off to the doctor’s I went. 

    The appointment went something like this: 

    Doc:    “What do you do for a living?”

    Me:      “I manage a Chamber of Commerce.”

    Doc:    “Wow, you are really young.  That’s a very demanding job with a lot of responsibilities.” 

    Me:      “Yes it is.”

    Doc:    “Okay, keep your eyes open while I look at them through the light.  Well, I don’t see any pressure or swelling on your brain.”

    Me:   “What?”  (To say that I was shocked when I heard those words would’ve been an understatement.  I just thought I might’ve had an ear infection!)

    Doc:    “Get some rest.  Take some time off.  Here’s some drugs so things don’t get worse.”

    Those words scared me.  I was now 26 years old.  Too young to have the possibility of a swollen brain due to stress!  For a job?  No way!  I’ll find another one.

    I share this news with a so-called, ‘friend of mine’, (at least I thought she was my friend).  She was one of the Directors that sat on the Board for the Chamber of Commerce.  I tell her I am going to look for a new job because of my health.  She acts like she is concerned for me.  (Backstabbing liar!)

    She shares the news with the President and Vice President (my bosses) and they decide to fire me because my heart is no longer into my work. 

    I was DEVASTATED, HURT, BETRAYED, FURIOUS…and did I mention unemployed!   

    Guess who applies for my position?  Yep, you guessed it, backstabbing liar herself!
    (Okay, that was just funny!  I know, I know, I am a Christian woman and I shouldn’t say those things but I have forgiven her... really, I have!)

    So, let me connect the dots for you.

    Did you see how the Lord took care of the problem I was having about keeping my mind on Him when my mind was so consumed with work?  No more job to be consumed with.  Yes, a hard lesson I know!

    The Lord knew my heart was to follow Him and remain in Him.  He knew I was too wrapped up in my identity of my position and not in Him.  He knew I needed to eat a piece of humble pie as well.  I needed to be broken of my pride.  By the way, that was THE WORST tasting pie I have ever had, but it was the best one for me.

    It hurt, but God answered my prayers.

    Life continued on.  I drew closer to the Lord.  I found a strong, Bible teaching church (where I am still attending 15+ years later).   I found a new job that taught me to be a servant (again, very humbling) but something I needed to learn for my future role as a wife and mother.

    My life was about to be radically transformed by the power of God. 

    Stay tuned for Part 2.
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    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Her Children Rise Up and Call Her Stressed

    Those were not the words that I longed to hear from my children a few weeks ago, yet, based on how I acted, it certainly was a possibility!

    Stressed was an understatement.  HI hollered at my kids.  Not only did I yell at them but I also slammed the kitchen cupboard doors and drawers as I went about my business of purging and packing the home.  I was angry and I wanted to pull my hair out.  I exploded.

    The enemy, knowing full well of my past, got a foothold of me that morning.

    The Lord convicted my heart.  Daughter, your actions are not of Me.  They are of your flesh and not My Spirit.

    I know Lord.  Forgive me. 

    “Boys, will you forgive Mommy?  I am sorry for yelling and screaming at you.” 

    “I was being nasty and Jesus does not want me to act this way.  He wants me to trust in Him even in the midst of moving again.” 

    “This is the path that He has us on and He knows we can go through this.” 

    “He does not want us to rely on our own strengths but instead, rely on Him” 

    “I am sorry for treating you bad, will you forgive me?”

    “It’s okay Mommy, I forgive you”, said my gentle and sensitive Noah.

    “I forgive you Mommy.  Will you forgive me too for not doing what you asked and not helping you?”  My strong-willed, Seth replied.

    My heart melted.

    They are learning. 

    I am learning. 

    My action of rage was not what a God-fearing, Christian woman should be displaying towards her children (or anyone else for that matter).

    I still have much to overcome based on my past.

    (Deep sign) Oh, my past...A home filled with rage.  A home where I walked on eggshells.  A home where I was afraid to have a messy room because of the repercussions.  I was frightened by one of my parents and tried to avoid them at all costs.  Belts were used in anger.  Plastic baseball bats were used as the parent sat lying in wait to use on young children.  With a boiling temper, books and glass figurines were thrown at us.  Of course we were blamed for all of the problems.  

    Note: I have since forgiven my parents for their actions. They did not have the biblical understanding nor the God-fearing wisdom needed when they raised me.  They did the best they could and I am thankful for their sacrifice. 

    However, just because of what I experienced as a child, that does not give me license to sin towards my children when I parent them.  (Although I am sure Oprah would enjoy me sitting on her couch letting the world know how I was wronged as a kid like the rest of the world!)  Sometimes we need to learn to let go of our past and take responsibility for our own actions and selfish behaviors and stop blaming our upbringing.  Yes, my upbringing certainly made an impact on me but the Word of God is very clear…

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

    God, the ‘Great I Am’ has made a bigger impact on my life than the impact that my parents made on me.

    It is who I am in Christ that defines me.  Not my upbringing. 

    I have become new and I needed to learn to change my old ways.  “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:13, 14

    I wanted to parent my children in a way that was pleasing to the Lord.  I made changes and learned some patience and self-control (and I am still learning it!) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  Galatians 5:22, 23

    I don’t want my boys to remember this time in our lives as a difficult time where their mother was relying more on herself rather than resting in Christ.  “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:30, 31

    I don’t need to be angry, Anxious and Overwhelmed on this journey, I just need to keep my eyes on the Lord and do my best to remain in Him; in His Spirit… not my flesh.  "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

    When I am in the flesh… is when I become stressed.

    When I take on too much… then I become stressed.

    When I take on other roles… then I become stressed.

    When things are outside of my control, (and I want to control it)… then I become stressed.
    Even if I feel like I'm in a pressure cooker and I am about to explode... I need to learn to be still.
    Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!  The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah  Psalm 46:10, 11 
    I do not want to be yelling at my children while I’m telling them that Jesus loves them!  That doesn’t work, it gives them mixed messages.

    “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”  Galatians 5:16, 17

    In His presence there is no stress… only His strength.  
    “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1

    That is where I want to be all the time so one day I will hear,  “Her children rise up and called her blessed.”  Proverbs 31:28

    Here's some tips to remove the stress in your life:
    • Be in God's Word.  Be in God's Word. Be in God's Word.
    • Be in prayer.
    • Worship the Lord.
    • Be in fellowship.
    • Don't take on too many responsibilities.  Keep life simple.
    • Eat chocolate! (smile.)
    Yes, our children will emulate us…the good and the bad.  Will they become stressed too?

    As parents, our main job is to take our children to THE PERFECT PARENT, God Himself.  But we can’t do that if we don’t go to the Lord ourselves.

    I am linked up with

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    If You Keep Your Eyes on Jesus You Can Walk On Water and Homeschool

    “Come.”  That little word was spoken by Jesus to Peter when Peter walked on water.  Jesus has said to all of us, “Come”, as we begin and/or continue our homeschooling journey. God has called you to the noble task of homeschooling, so He will equip you, just like He equipped Peter.  You just need to have faith.  

    Faith is a little word but it has a huge amount of power and strength.  Faith is what allowed Peter to walk on water!  So Jesus said "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.   Matthew 14:29  The same faith that Peter had to do an unimaginable task, is the same faith we need as we start and/or continue our journey this year.  And for many of us, homeschooling our children, is an unimaginable task! 

    For several of you, this is your first year of homeschooling, however, in my opinion, you have been homeschooling your children since birth.  Your child is just starting another stage in his development and now the government has lorded over you a requirement to teach your child because your child is now 5 or 6 years old.  I laugh out loud when I think of the government requiring me to teach my child!  That sounds so ridiculous! 

    When you taught your child how to eat solid foods, did you have the government pressuring you to do so?  No!  You knew your child was ready to eat solid foods so you introduced them to him.  You did not withhold food from your child because you were waiting to hear from the government as to when to feed him.  You knew what your child needed.   

    When you taught your children how to walk, did you consult the government handbook on childhood walking?  Of course not, how absurd does that sound? You know your child better than anyone else, more so than the government, the public schools, private schools, grandmas and grandpas, friends and neighbors.   You have been homeschooling all along.  YOU ARE EQUIPPED TO DO THIS!  You are the ultimate teacher for your child, because you are “Mom”.  Now, here comes the hard part.  Charting a new course.

    Many of you are anxious for this coming school year.  I remember very well my first year of “official” homeschooling.  All of the curriculum was in order and I had an ideal of my child just sitting at my kitchen table waiting eagerly and patiently for my instruction for us to ‘do school’.  What a rude awakening I had!  There was absolutely nothing patient about my child and the only thing he was eager to do was to get up from my table to go run around outside and climb a tree.  (Eight years later, he's still like that today!)  

    I was definitely disillusioned about my new homeschooling journey.   I began to second-guess myself and my abilities and of course, my “qualifications”.  

    I did not understand why my child did not respond the way I had envisioned.  After the years of reading books about homeschooling, and homeschooling my children through preschool, I truly felt prepared.  Oh, how wrong I was!  But after a few more years of growing in the Lord and having faith in knowing that homeschooling was God’s best for my child, I pressed on.  I bought different curriculum, read a lot more homeschooling books, learned more about my teaching style and my children’s learning styles, etc.  I was determined to homeschool in spite of its difficulties, yet I still felt like I was sinking, or should I say, drowning!  

    My first born child was sooo difficult to teach (and he still is to this day because that is just how God has made him!)  I realized I had a choice.  I could put him in traditional school and have someone else teach him, knowing full well that he would not receive the biblical instruction that I wanted to pour into him, or I could read more homeschooling books and hope everything works out for the best.  OR I could have faith in Jesus, the Living Word, the Ultimate How-to Homeschool Book.  And that is what I did.  I used God’s Holy Word as my ‘Life Preserver’ to pull me back up to the top of the water that I was drowning in.  I clung to the Word of God and I believed It and tried to obey It with all my heart, even in the midst of my homeschooling storm.

    When I look back to my times of defeat, I saw the ‘here and now’, the temporary times of my child not getting math or his inability to read, (which now I recognize as his disinterest, rather than a ‘so called’ disability).  I took my eyes off of Jesus just like Peter did when he started to sink.  “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!”  Matthew 14:30   

    Fear caused Peter to sink.   Fear caused me to doubt my decision to homeschool.  So I asked myself, what causes a homeschool mom to fear?  And here were many of my thoughts, 

    “My son is not ‘getting it’.”  

    “I don’t feel like I am doing enough.”  

    “Will this curriculum cover everything he needs to know?”  

    “What if there are gaps in my child’s education?”  

    “Will he get into college?”  

    “Am I going to ruin my child by doing this?  

    All of it is fear and All of it is from the Enemy.  Satan will speak those words into your minds daily, if you allow him. 

    What I did not see at the time were the spiritual fruits that were developing in my child, and those giftings far outweighed when he would ‘get math’ or become a proficient reader.  "And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"  Matthew 14:31  There  was  no reason  for  me to  become  fearful  of  my child’s education.  God knew what He was doing when he called me and said, “Come”.

    Many people have given Peter a hard time for taking his eyes off of Jesus in this passage.  But how many other disciples had enough faith to throw their leg over the side of the boat and walk on water?  A big fat zero!  

    You have thrown your leg over the side of the boat, you are walking on water to Jesus, only your walk happens to have your kids in tow, and you are taking them to Jesus with you!  What a beautiful and precious sight! 

    If you keep your eyes on Jesus, you can homeschool!

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Carried to the Cross

    "How can I take my children to the Cross when I can’t even get there myself?"

    Those were the words that ran through my mind today.

    Physically exhausted from all of the packing and purging, cooking and cleaning, laundry and learning.

    Mentally overwhelmed because of the road ahead.

    More news.  The straw that broke the camel’s back, pierced my soul.

    I became spiritually paralyzed.  Numb.  Unable to function.

    I make a phone call to my Beloved and share the news with him.  I tell him of my hurting heart.   

    My Beloved carried me to the Cross.
    We are one.  He knows my fears and insecurities.  He knows what sends me to the dark places.  “And the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.”  Mark 10:8

    Two young souls look on.

    “Mommy, what’s wrong, they ask?”

    I cry.

    They hug me.

    I reassure them it has nothing to do with them. 

    “Life is just hard right now boys,” I say.

    Lord, will life ever get any easier? I wonder.

    I don’t want to cause them to stumble in their faith because of how I am handling my struggles and pain.   

    I hold on to the promises of the Lord working in their lives as well.

    My youngest will be 10 in a few short weeks.  Because we are moving, he is having a difficult time giving up his things.  The home that we're heading to can't fit all of our stuff.  Just things we need and a little bit of what we want, but a life changing move none-the-less.  Hard on the little guy.

    My 11 year is starting to doubt that our life will get any easier.  He's struggling with all of the change and letting go of things.  

    Over the past few weeks I have reminded them daily that what we do have is most important...Jesus and our family.

    God has a great plan for them I know. 

    But in that moment of my debilitating pain I couldn’t take them to the Cross. 

    My fears:  Are my actions going to cause them to turn their eyes away from the Lord?  Harden their hearts towards God?  Become bitter?  Turn from us when they are older?

    They continue to look on. 

    “What’s wrong Mommy?” 

    Will they see Jesus in me or just my flesh?

    How can I take them to the Cross when I can’t get there myself.  The words continue to echo through my mind.

    My Beloved comes home. 

    He turns on worship and praise music.  He knows what lifts my weary and hurting soul.

    He speaks with the boys and listens to their hearts.

    They do not want to give their things up.

    They do not want to keep moving.

    Dinner is shared and prayers are prayed.

    My Beloved takes the boys to the Cross as he gives them instructions on being a “Man After God’s Own Heart. 

    “David, the man who loved God was also a warrior,” he reminds them.  They know the warrior’s stories well. 

    “When David was running from Saul, where did he hide?”  He asked.

    “The cave,” was the boys’ response.

    “Could David take his bed or his toys with him?” were my Beloved’s words. 

    “No,” they said with a smile.

    “What happened to David?”  He asked.  “He returned to the palace, but instead of being a servant, he became the King.” 

    “We will continue to move as often as the Lord calls us to,” he says. 

    He reminds them, “The road ahead will be hard for all of us, but we are warriors.  I need you to be strong.  We will get knocked down a lot, but we need to get up again.”

    He shares with them that I got knocked down today.  “But she’ll get back up”, he says, as he looks at me with a smile on his face.

    “If you are a warrior for the Lord, your life won't be easy,” he says.  "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."  Ephesians 6:10-12

    He ministers to my soul as he washes me in the Word. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word.”  Ephesians 5:25,26

    Later, he turns to me and says, “Will you write today?”  He knows when I do, that I am in the presence of the Master. 

    I say no, but yet I do, because it is here that I am at His feet; where He is breathing life into my soul.

    My Beloved, anointed and appointed by God to be the spiritual leader of the home, carried me to the Cross today.  “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.  Ephesians 5:23”  

    Two warriors together, holding the hands of warriors-in-training, seeking to stand for Christ, even in the midst of pain. 

    If you are in Christ, then you, my friend, are in a spiritual battle!  The devil wants to destroy you just like he wants to destroy me and my family. He wants to knock us down and keep us down so we are useless for the Master.

    Swoosh, goes the sound of my sword.

    Do you have yours out too?