Friday, December 07, 2007

Fear and relativism

With the dawn of the internet age it has become increasingly easy to surround yourself with friends who share exactly the same interests. For example, I have few friends in real life who wear their babies in slings or use cloth diapers. But I can pop over to or and voila! - instant peer group. While this can be fun and encouraging, it can also be dangerous. It seems like every web community has a standard group of core values. (Admit that you occassionally use disposable diapers and the girls over at diaper swappers might be shocked.) This becomes a problem when the core values of a group extend beyond outward things like babywearing or cloth diapering.

Many of the boards I visit are attachment parenting oriented. While there are some aspects of this philosophy that I love, there are other aspects that I find disturbing. I do not look at my child as a peer. They are precious charges given to me by God to raise. He has given them to me because I am older and wiser and I am to teach and train them. There is a relativism amongst many AP moms that I cannot embrace. I believe that there are absolute rights and wrongs and that I need to teach my children this. As Pope John Paul said, we do not get to choose right and wrong, we get to choose between right and wrong. There seems to be a movement among parents today to embrace allowing your children to choose their own definition of good and evil. This is foolishness. God has already decided what is Truth. He has delineated what is right and what is wrong. It is up to us to choose which side we will stand on.

While I sometimes have the courage to stand up for the Truth, I am often nervous about doing so. I am afraid that if I do not tow the party line of tolerance and respect/endorsement of all choices I will be ostracized or ridiculed. For some reason I seem to care what these e-friends think of me.

But I forget my real Audience. I should be more fearful of what God thinks of me. His opinion is the only one that matters. This week I am meditating on the fear of God (which the Bible says is the beginning of all wisdom). It is popular nowdays to replace the word "fear" in the Bible with "respect", but I think this is faulty. Most of us fear what others think about us. We say, "Oh, I can't do that because I'm afraid of what she'd think of me" or some other nonsense. But we don't stop to think "I can't do this because I'm afraid of what He would think," or "I'm afraid if I choose this path I will hurt His heart." We have no fear of God.

Luke 12:4-9"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. "

Friday, November 02, 2007

I like the "Jesus Loves Me", but...

My lovely 7 and 4 year old were arguing over something stupid yesterday when we walked into Costco after taekwondo. I shared Proverbs 20:3 with them ("It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.") I told them that when they are quick to argue they are being fools and asked if foolishness what their goal.

Nate cocked his head at me and says, "Mom, I like that 'Jesus loves me' part of the Bible, but not the parts where He tells me what to do."

Isn't he like all of us? We all want to hear the mushy lovey parts, but disdain the part where God asserts control over our lives or gives us guidelines for living. My wonderful husband is making a film series examining the debate between evolution and creationism. We see this as a vital issue to the church. If one can reject a Creator, one can reject that Creator's demands. If one accepts that he has been created by a sentient Being, it stands to reason that that Creator may have plans for His creation.

God help us to rejoice in His plan and embrace it, instead of sulking like children with selective hearing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Don't you want me to be happy?

Earlier today I was helping Nate with his math. He was having a difficult time paying attention and was whining. I told him he needed to be diligent. He said he didn't want to diligently work on math, he wanted to diligently watch TV. "Don't you want me to be happy, Mommy?" he sighed.

Do I want him to be happy? Sure, in the long run. But more importantly, I want him to be holy. I want him to learn to be disciplined and follow God. It may be uncomfortable and at times, even painful, to follow a path of sanctification, but in the end it will yield happiness. God designed us. Since He knows our innermost workings He knows what will ultimately give us joy. And that is being conformed to the image of His Son. Our temporal happiness is not God's biggest concern, and Nate's momentary desires are not my greatest concern. I am looking at Nate's future, just as God is looking at mine. I pray that He will help me to remember this when I am tempted to whine and ask, "Don't You want me to be happy, God?"

On a lighter note

My kids say the funniest things.

We were eating breakfast yesterday and Nate says, "Mommy, Grandpa Bill read us the best book last night. It was about mummies and crotchroaches." I almost choked to death on my miniwheats.

Stupid crotchroaches.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

God's will for me

So many times I have heard Christians lament, "I just don't know what God's will is for my life." I have even said it myself. I guess we are not familiar with His Word, because it is abundantly clear what His will is: " Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" ( I Thessalonians 5:16-18, bolding mine).

So what is God's will again? Simple: be joyful, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances.

How do we break that down though? I think they are all intertwined.

Be joyful.

Notice it doesn't say feel joyful, it says be joyful. This means to me that it is an act of will. I will get up this morning and choose joy. I will paste a smile on my face until it transforms my heart. Studies show that laughter actually makes you healthier (something that is not a surprise to God - see Proverbs 17:22). Choosing joy and choosing to laugh makes you feel better. A cheerful countenance makes you feel good. Then you smile even more. And then you feel even better. What a great cycle!

Give thanks in all circumstances.

Yes, I'm going out of order here, but there is a reason. This one has really been put to the test for me lately. As many of you know, we welcomed a lovely little boy to our household on August 24th. I had a history of two natural deliveries and two cesarean sections. I desperately wanted to have another natural birth. I saw a midwife and hired a wonderful doula to help me. I read stories about vaginal birth after cesarean and saw a chiropractor to improve his positioning. And in the end, my blood pressure shot through the roof and I ended up on the operating table again.

I was mad. I did not want another surgical birth. I wanted to pull my baby up onto my tummy and nurse immediately. I wanted our birth to be an intimate experience with as few in attendance as possible, not a show attended by 15+ hospital staff. And I did not want to go through the post-op pain of another major abdominal surgery. The more I dwelt on what I did NOT get, birthwise, the angrier I became. And the angrier I became, the more depressed and irritable I was. It got to the point where I felt physically sick to my stomach whenever I thought about Gabe's birth.

And then, as I was praying last week, I was reminded of this verse. God's will for my life is that I would be thankful in all circumstances. I began to think of all to good things that surrounded Gabe's birth.

First off, I am thankful for Gabriel himself. He is a gorgeous, sweet and easy going baby. His siblings are over the moon for him. He nurses like a champ and is getting so chubby and adorable.

I am grateful that my midwife and Philip were in the operating room the entire time. My hands were not tied down and I got to touch Gabriel right after he was delivered. I have video and film of the actual delivery. Gabe went with me to recovery and nursed immediately after I was finished being sewn up.

One bad spot in the delivery was when there was a mix up on the doctor's orders and I did not have pain medicine ordered post-op. After about 2 hours of crying hysterically, the situation was rectified and I was given pain medicine. But even this screw up gives me opportunity for thanks. Thank God there was eventual relief of the pain. Thank God we live in a country where medicine is available and the surgery was available.

My doula pointed out that there is a difference between disappointment and regret. I do not regret having a c-section. I believe it saved my life and Gabe's life. I am disappointed that I did not get the natural delivery that I wanted, but I can still choose thankfulness. And as I choose to reflect on the good and be thankful for God's providence, the disappointment is healing. As I embrace His way of thankfulness, He is healing my heart.

Pray continually.

I think the key to being joyful and giving thanks is praying continuously. In my own strength I am inadequate for joy and thankfulness. I have this fleshy bit in my me that wants to rise up and pout. I want things my way, and I want them now! But God has provided a way out for me. If I can lean on Him, I can escape my tendency towards ungratefulness and sullenness. He knows my heart. It is not news to Him when I tell Him that I cannot do it and ask for help. And day by day, minute by minute, I must ask if I am to win this battle. His mercies are new each day and His strength is sufficient.

So, pray with me today. Say, "Lord, help me to choose Your way of thankfulness and joy." Then suck it up, smile and choose to be grateful for all circumstances. Because this is God's will for you.

Coming soon to a computer near you!

Dh and I have always wanted to adopt a child (or a few!). Frankly, there is nothing that so closely mirrors the heart of God to me than adoption. We, ourselves, are adopted into His family. In Romans 8: 15 it says, "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, "Abba, Father." Isn't that awesome? We are adopted into the family of God. He gives us the right to call Him "Daddy". And in the Hebrew culture, a father could disown his biological son, but could not disown an adopted son. So we belong to Him, forever!

So what does this have to do with your computer? You will soon have the opportunity to buy things that will contribute to our adoption fund! I have a shop set up at and will soon be stocking it with hairbows, baby slings, baby leggings, scrapbooking items and more. And all proceeds will go towards our goal of bringing home a new child to our pfamily.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I don't think you understand

Recently, I asked Anna (4 1/2) to do something. She refused. I explained that Mommy's instructions are not optional. She cocked her head at me and said, "Mama, I don't think you understand. I want to do what I want to do, not what you want to do." She acted like I was genuinely confused about her condition. Like her predilection towards self-will was a surprise to me.

But isn't that the crux of the human condition? We got into this whole sin mess for the same reason. We want to do what we want to do instead of what He wants us to do. And we try to justify our sin nature in the exact same way that Anna does. As if our bent for rebellion is just a matter of personal preference.

As we gently teach Anna the importance of submitting to Mama and Daddy, may we also learn the importance of submitting to our Heavenly Father.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Great little article

I was reading recently about religious views on breastfeeding and came across an fantastic Catholic article:

Funny how "modern" societies reject the natural in favor of man's way. Brings to mind the Biblical warnings against being "wise in your own eyes."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Beautiful Heart

Sometimes my kids just amaze me. Nathaniel is growing to be such a wise little boy. Recently we had this conversation:

Nate: "Mommy, what does n*&&#$ mean?"
Me: "Nate, where did you hear that word?"
Nate: "On TV. What does that mean?"
Me: "Well, that is a word that some people use. We do NOT use that word in our house. Some people are not very smart and they think that they are better than other people just because of the color God made their skin. That is a very ugly word they use to talk about people who are different from them. It hurts people's feelings to hear that word."
Nate: "Mommy, that is really stupid. Don't those people know that God looks at our hearts and what we do to see if we are good? I think the world would be a better place if we could all look at each other with God's eyeballs."

Wouldn't the world be better if we could all see each other with His eyes?

Voice over

Last month, our little pfamily went on a trip to see relatives. Being cheap, I mean, frugal, we have not purchased a DVD player for the minivan. But since we were going on a long trip we toted along our TV/DVD combo that we use for our homeschooling math and science lessons. The children could watch a few movies each direction and dh and I were spared listening to The Laurie Berkner Band CD on repeat.

We had purchased a few new movies for the trip and the kids had a blast watching Robots and Curious George. As we were talking in the front seat, dh and I tried to identify the actors and actresses who did the voice overs for the cartoon characters. (Phil is much better at this than I am). When he mentioned one of the actor's names, I struggled a bit. I had heard of this actor before, but couldn't really remember what his voice sounded like, because I'd only seen him in one movie and it was quite some time ago.

This struck me as a spiritual principle. I could not tell that the voice of this robot belonged to that actor because I was not very familiar with the sound of that actor's voice. I had heard it once, but not recently.

We are the same way with the LORD. Often Christians complain that we can't hear God speaking to us. Maybe the problem is that while God is speaking, we have forgotten what His voice sounds like. We have not spent enough time in prayer and in His Word to know what His voice is like. We can't tell the voice of the Holy Spirit from the voice of our culture because we have not cultivated our recognition.

Makes me want to turn off the TV and tune in to the Word of God. I can live without knowing that Mel Brooks is the voice of Bigweld, but I cannot live well without knowing the voice of my Creator.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Faith in Faith?

Having attended Oral Roberts University, I am pretty familiar with the faith movement. I thought I had heard it all. Until I was driving to Krispy Kreme this morning (baby Bean needed some blueberry doughnuts), and heard a preacher on the radio exclaim, "It's not God that heals you - it's your faith that heals you! Can I get an Amen? If you believe it, God HAS to do it! The Word says so." Thankfully, we had not yet purchased our doughnuts or I might have choked. Ummm, no. God MUST do nothing. Otherwise He would not be omnipotent. Where do these preachers come up with this?

Kenneth Copeland has said that the reason God blesses unbelievers is because they follow God's principles without even knowing it. They follow the "laws of the universe" by believing for wealth and sowing seeds. A freakishly popular book out right now is called The Law of Attraction. Supposedly these are Abrahamic teachings on how we can attract good thing in our lives by using the power of positive thinking. Basically, you believe and meditate on good things and you will manifest them in your life. Faith teachers teach the exact same thing, but they clothe the paganism in Biblical language. (You can mix the rat poison into your coffee, but it's still poison.)

My whole problem with the idea is that you are using "principles" to obtain results from the impersonal universe. We are not called to do this. We are blessed to be able to take our requests to a personal, intimate, caring God. We are called to trust (a more accurate translation of "faith" in most Biblical contexts) - but we are not trusting in rules, the universe or any formula. We are trusting in a living God who knows us intimately and desires to work with us on every detail of our lives.

I think the key is having faith in God. That is, faith/trust in God's goodness, benevolence and good plan. Not faith in faith or faith that God will do whatever I will. I have heard preachers say that praying "if it is your will" is double minded or shows lack of faith, and I just back away. I don't want to be there when the lightening strikes. Jesus prayed "Thy will be done," and instructed his apostles to do likewise. Good enough for me.

We have to remember that this world isn't it. God uses us for His glory here, and our temporal happiness is not His biggest concern. What does the Word say about it?

Job 13:15 "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face." (Notice Job did not say that he hoped that God would do what Job wanted. His hope was in God's character and person.)

Hebrews 11:13 "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth."

Hebrews 11: 36-40 "Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."

These folks were commended for their faith and yet DID NOT RECEIVE, because God had something better for them than what they desired. If we look at Job, Paul, Joseph , David, and others in the Bible, we don't see them trying to work up some frenzy of faith so God will have to bless them. I think reading your Bible and saying "God, You have to do this because I have faith that You will" is Christian witchcraft. The Bible is no spellbook and we should not be using it to try and control God. He MUST do nothing, else He is not sovereign. We are called to have faith and trust in God Himself, not in our puny understanding of what He should or should not do in a particular situation.

I think some preachers have horridly temporal values. As if blessings or prosperity in this world were all that. This life is like a vapor, and I think as we grow in Christ and gain an understanding of how fleeting it is, we can have an eternal perspective instead of a temporal one.I think the best prayer we can ever pray is "Lord, I trust in YOU! Glorify Your Name in this situation." Sometimes that means a physical healing, sometimes it does not. It's not up to me, the child, to demand my way. It is up to me to ask and then accept His answer as perfect, because my understanding is limited.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Have they lost their minds?

Last week my handsome husband and I went out on a date. It was his turn to choose the movie and he chose the latest Mel Gibson flick, Apocolypto ( We settled down in our seats at the dollar theater and I was somewhat surprised to see many parents with young children (the movie is rated "R"). About 15 minutes into the show the violence began. First, the protagonist's village in the rain forest is raided. It showed the brutal capture of the adults, the rape of some of the women and the abandonment of the children. I looked around to make sure parents were covering their children's eyes. Nope.

The movie continued to grow progressively more violent. Halfway through, the captives are lead into the Mayan capitol and three of them are sacrificed to the sun god. It showed their abdomens being sliced and their beating hearts being ripped from their chests before they are beheaded. It was gruesome. I had to cover my eyes. Surely the parents should be standing up and taking their children home at this point, right? Nope.

From that point on, the movie continued down the same violent path, showing, among other acts, stabbings, beatings, spearings, and impalements. I got up at one point to use the bathroom and heard a small boy (around 4) saying to his mom "this movie is scary." She told him to "shut up, it's just pretend." I was astounded. I went and had dry heaves in the toilet I was so upset about the poor children being subjected to this.

What is wrong with our culture when this is considered appropriate parenting? Why did the parents take their children to an "R" rated movie? If it was in err, why didn't they stand up and leave when the movie showed it's true colors? My husband pointed out that they probably just found that it was cheaper to buy tickets to the dollar theater than pay a babysitter. Ugh. Part of being a parent is doing what is best for your child. That means sucking it up and going to see "Flushed Away" or another G-rated, kid friendly flick when you cannot afford a sitter.

It seems sad to me that so many children are exposed to horrible violence like this on TV, in movies and in video games. These same kids later become angry, violent, rebellious teens and young adults. Why are we so surprised? We fill their minds with violence and wonder why violence is the end product. Maybe one reason our young people are angry is because they should have been protected.

Recently a friend was criticizing us for our plans to homeschool next year. "You don't want your kids to be sheltered, do you?" she asked. Yes! I do want my children sheltered. What is the opposite of sheltered, exposed? I certainly don't want my sweet, impressionable, vulnerable children exposed to the nastiness, amoral sexuality and senseless violence of this world. I want to allow their minds to be free from that garbage until they are old enough and have the moral foundation to process it. We certainly revel in the idea of the Lord being a refuge and shelter to us ("For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe." Ps 61:3), yet we want to deny our children the God-ordained refuge of parental discretion, forcing them to fend for themselves in a perverse world far before their hearts and minds are ready.

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." This is what we should be filling our children's minds with: pure, lovely admirable, true, noble, right, excellent and praiseworthy things.

Monday, February 05, 2007

My little evangelist

Earlier I recounted hearing Nate try to lead Anna to the Lord, but I gave a shortened version. I was really impressed with his soul-winning little spirit. He had obviously thought about it and was genuinely concerned for his sister's spiritual health.

Nate got my "salvation" bracelet from my jewelry box and carefully explained to Anna what each color stood for. He then told her about how Jesus lived in his heart and was his friend. He said that Jesus would never leave her and when she died she would live with Him in Heaven. He then dropped the big question, "Anna, do you want to have Jesus in your heart right now?"

Anna cocked her head and replied, "Meow! I'm a pink kitty."

Nate exclaimed, "Ugh, girls!"

Later, we had a talk about it. He told me it was okay that Anna didn't want Jesus right now, he'd just talk to her again when she was bigger. He said, "Did you know, Mama, that the people didn't listen all the time to Jesus? And He is real God and everything!"

Not bad theology for a six year old. I pray that he never loses his passion for souls and remains the soft-hearted sweet boy that he is.

Selfish, selfish parents

Recently a friend sent an article to me from MSNBC about breastfeeding ( Being stupid, I looked at some of the comments people had to make about women who nurse in public. I was appalled. Many folks were up in arms over the idea of a child EATING in public. I mean, how dare an infant enjoy the rights of all other human beings? To eat! With others present! How foul! Many comments were rude and compared nursing mothers to pooping daddies, suggesting that both should do their business in the bathroom. While some of the breastfeeding squeamishness can be attributed to the adolescent views of breasts that some people are cursed with, I believe that the heart of the issue is the deep-rooted selfishness of our society.

We have come to the point in our culture where the needs and wants of adults always outweigh the needs of children. Babies shouldn't have breastmilk in public lest some adult be offended. Parents shouldn't stay married just for the sake of the kids. Moms shouldn't stay home and mother their children because they might feel "unfulfilled". Parents should pawn their children off on babysitters and let them watch television all day so they can "do their own thing".

It's sad. And until we, as a nation, start recognizing that it is healthy and normal to sacrifice for your children we will continue to decline. We must realize that our children and grandchildren are worth the momentary sacrifices and do what it takes to put them first.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Things I would have missed, part one

I was getting kind of grouchy last week. I've had a sinus infection that I just can't seem to shake and coupled with the utter exhaustion and nausea of early pregnancy, I was just miserable. In the back of my mind I was thinking, "WHY am I doing this again so soon?"

And God showed me some beautiful things that I would have missed if we didn't have kids quite so close together.

I heard Abby and Anna giggling in their room and just grinned thinking of the special bond they have. We put them in their beds at night, but by morning they are huddled in a little nest of blankets together on the floor like a pile of puppies.

I saw Luke stand up for the first time and Nate ran over and kissed him. He said, "Oh, Lukey, you stood up! I'm so proud of you! You're going to be such a great walker."

I heard Nate explaining a Bible story to his sisters when he thought I wasn't listening. I had been telling him about perseverence and he was repeating the lesson to the girls.

I sat on the couch with the kids all around me and read books.

I nursed Luke and Abby came over and rubbed his hair and kissed him.

I heard the kids playing pretend. Nate was a knight and was trying to rescue his princess sisters from an evil dragon.

I saw the kids help care for the baby. Abby brought me diapers and wipes. Anna looked at a book with Luke. Nate tickled Luke and blew raspberries on his tummy.

I heard Nate explaining to Anna that Jesus lives in his heart and that if she wants Him to He can live in her heart too. He told her that Jesus will never leave her and that she will never be alone.

I enjoyed a puppet show with 6 puppets dancing madly. And one baby sitting in front of the stage chewing on a seventh puppet.

I am really, really blessed. My kids love each other and enjoy each other's company. That's why we are doing this again.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Planned? By God.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart..." Jeremiah 1:5

"Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in His ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands:
you shall be blessed and it shall be well with you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD."
Psalm 128:1-4

"Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
The fruit of the womb His generous legacy?
Like a warrior's fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children.
Your enemies don't stand a chance against you.
You will sweep them right off your doorstep."
Psalm 127: 3-5

Recently, Philip and I found out we are expecting another baby. While we were indeed more than a little surprised at the news, our surprise quickly turned to joy and grateful anticipation of the newest blessing. We are thrilled to know that God has trusted us with another soul to raise up for His glory and we know the kids will be delighted to have another brother or sister to play with. We have found that God is faithful and has always provided for the increasing needs of our growing family. (We may have struggled financially at times, but this is more a result of our failures and poor choices than because of the blessing of children.) The only thing we have not been looking forward to is telling our friends, family and church. This may seem odd, but we have found that the reception we get when announcing a pregnancy has grown noticeably less jubilant with every successive child. It seems that the first two children are wonderful, the third is acceptable, and from four on your sanity is questioned. This mindset comes from our culture, not from the Word of God.

The Bible clearly states that children are a blessing. It never qualifies this with "children are a blessing, if they are convenient and you planned them and you feel like you are ready for them". It simply says they are blessings. I have never known a Christian to refuse any blessings from God except the blessings of the womb. If God wanted to give you a large chunk of money you would accept it right away. Yet the love of money is called the root of all evil (I Timothy 6:10).

We don't despise anyone who feels that God is calling them to use birth control (though we believe Christians must take a long, hard, prayerful look at the use of hormonal birth control as it can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg around 5-15% of the time), and we know there are times that birth control may be necessary. We would hate to say that God never leads a couple to prevent conception. However, we are frustrated by the fact that even in Christian churches using birth control seems to be the default position. If we have truly died to ourselves and are raised in newness of life to serve Him, how can we assume that changing the way our bodies work to refuse His blessings is the way to obey? Should we not prayerfully seek out God's will on the subject, assuming that we should be open to children unless the Spirit leads another way? Why do we allow the voice of culture to speak louder than the Voice of God? Barrenness in Biblical times was a curse, and yet our culture tells us it is prudent to pursue surgical barrenness. Many Christians will use verses on stewardship to bolster their arguments for a smaller family. We have not found a single verse that contextually supports this idea. The Bible speaks often of spending the resources that God has given you wisely, but never of refusing to receive those resources.

Maybe this is because, at the heart of the matter, we have believed the world's lie. Though we may not consciously even realize it, we do not believe that children are a blessing. Our culture views children as a burden, a responsiblity that we must shoulder before we can get on with our lives. I have talked to so many women who can't wait until their child goes to school so they can get "back to their lives." Several of my co-workers look forward to the day that their children leave home so they can pursue more schooling, more job skills, more pampering, and more elusive "fulfillment." Maybe we should ask the Lord to reveal to us His Heart towards children. Get on our knees and pray until we realize that children are a gift and that when He trusts us with them we are indeed blessed.

We do not know if this child will be our last. We believe that God will lead us by His Spirit. Even though this child was not "planned" by us, we know he or she was planned by God. That before He even began to knit this child together in my womb He had a purpose and a calling on the child's life. We know many people who love us will be concerned. We ask that if you have prayed and believe that God has told you we should stop receiving His blessings that you would also pray that He would share this with us. We want to be open to His leading and listen to His Voice.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Moving day!

I recently purchased a book by Randy Alcorn called "Heaven." It is one of the best books I have ever read and I encourage everyone to read it. It will really change your views and get you excited about our future home. Being filled with joyful anticipation of being with God in His place, Heaven, can certainly change the way you think about today.

He gives the example of moving day. When we built our house almost 5 yrs ago I was thrilled. I poured over the plans constantly. I drew up diagrams for furniture placement. I saved money to buy new things for the house. When the studs were up we came and wrote Scriptures all over the wall and on the concrete flooring. We prayed over the house. We saved and scrimped and sacrificed to get into the house.

Heaven is our destination. Our new (real) home is being built there. Jesus promises in His Word that he is preparing a home for us. And yet we often fail to plan for our new home. We don't desire it, we dread it. How crazy is that? The Creator of the Universe is building a place for us and we want this sin-drenched, broken-down world instead.

Suppose that after we had begun to build our house I had come into some money. And instead of saving it or investing it in things for the new house, I had bought some lavish embellishment for my rented apartment. Would that have made any sense? Jesus tells us that the wise man stores his treasure in Heaven. The wise man knows this world is, at best, a rental house, and it would be foolish to waste our resources, time or talent on things that will only be good for this world. A wise man devotes his time and energy to planning for Heaven.

So cheer up! Wise up! Live in thoughtful, joyful anticipation, making the most of every opportunity! Moving day is coming!

Gifts for the kids

Recently, a single friend and I were talking about children. He said that he wants to wait until he is older and then have 1 or 2 kids, so he can "give them everything they need." I said that we decided when we first married that we would like a large family. He asked if we were worried that we wouldn't be able to give them everything. This really got me thinking.

It seems that most families ultimately come down to this dilemma. You can have a very small family and have more money to spend on each child. Or you can have more children and have less money to spend of each child. At first glance it seems like the best thing for a child would be for mom and dad to have plenty of monetary resources to spend on him or her.

But in the long-term scheme of things, is this truly best?

What do more toys, clubs, and activities do for a child? A toy will break someday, and constantly getting the "newer, better" model of toys and playthings simply teaches a child to be discontent and covetous. Clubs and activities (sports, lessons, etc) are great, but many moms spend so much time running children from one lesson to another that all true family time is gone. The backseat of the minivan becomes the family meal table and the child's true teachers and mentors are his coaches or her ballet instructors (instead of mom and dad). A family life that is centered around the child's schedule and the child's activities (with mom as the chauffeur and dad as the bankroll) teaches a child that the world revolves around them.

What does a sibling do for a child? It gives him a friend for life (both here and in Heaven). A sibling teaches patience, cooperation, forgiveness, gentleness and kindness. Not getting everything a child wants teaches the child to value what they have and work hard towards goals. Having a larger family teaches a child that they are a valued part of the whole, but not the entire focus. The world does not revolve around him or her. Moms of large families generally are more focused on teaching their children home skills and helping them develop the capacity to keep house and be responsible.

I am grateful for the training I received as the oldest of six children. When faced with the decision between giving my children more "stuff" or giving them a brother or sister, I will choose a sibling every time.