Monday, August 24, 2015

Our 2015 - 2016 Homeschool Info

We are into our second week of homeschooling. Although I don't have an official, registered student, I do have a four year old who is oh-so eager to learn and a 2 year old who simply must tag along. So while I'm not yet up to my neck in tests and teaching various grade levels, I am getting a jump start on some formal teaching with structure - to prepare me for a whole new routine and to prepare them for the years ahead. So here is how we are currently "doing school."

Nathan is just all about school. He loves learning. He loves doing. He loves books. I often will walk into his room late at night and find his lamp on and him fast asleep in his bed completely covered in books. He also loves anything interactive and so with him in Pre-K, I have tried to combine lots of things he loves and build on his strengths and interests.

I am a firm believer in letting kids be little, so I haven't pushed him to learn things prematurely. But with Kindergarten right around the corner and knowing that our days always go smoother when we have some form of schedule, I decided to give him a minimized version of a regular "big kid" school day. We do school three days a week for 2-3 hours a day, learning to sit still, work quietly, and be diligent with our work. The rest of the time, we live life and enjoy the day. We watch old movies. We sing songs. We play outside. We put together puzzles. We go places. And we goof off. So it's a good mix. :) Here is what we study.

Bible - We LOVE the Child's Story Bible. We started it several months ago and the kids always enjoy us reading from it. It is very well written, giving deep theology in a child's language. Nathan asks for it and Selah will usually sit still while I read. My deepest desire is for the word of God to take root in their hearts. They can graduate with honors, go to the best colleges in the world, make millions, and be brilliant but if they know nothing of Jesus and His grace then I have failed them in every possible way. Creating smart kids is great. Raising saved kids who pursue His righteousness is unmatched. So Bible is our foundation. We read from the Child's Story Bible and we work on Scripture memorization. It's also my goal to try and take whatever spiritual lessons or verses they are currently learning and find practical ways to teach them how to implement those lessons throughout the day.

Letters, Numbers, Shapes, etc. - We have handwriting tablets to practice writing the alphabet and numbers but we are primarily using the Get Ready for Kindergarten book to practice letters, shapes, numbers, colors, sequencing, and such. Thus far, we love it! Nathan could sit and do the whole book in one day if I'd let him. He also has a DVD from Rock 'n Learn that makes learning letter sounds a blast! Nathan is already sounding out small words all by himself.

Science - Last year, I purchased God Made the World & Me - a preschool, creation-based science curriculum with thirteen 6-in-1 lessons. We have loved it and are going through it again. Coupled with that, we are reading Christian Liberty's Nature Reader book 1. I remember my mom reading through these books years ago when I was small and I love that I now can do that with my own.

History - We don't have any type of formal history lesson or curriculum, but we do pull out our globe and talk about the world. We have USA puzzles we put together and Nathan is currently learning the US Presidents. Soon we will begin reading a book on Columbus which I'm anxious to dive in to. It's all very low-key. :)

Spanish - Grant is very adamant about our kids learning Spanish so we have slowly begun introducing them to a second language. I picked up this DVD that teaches basic words and conversational phrases in a really fun way and the kids have really enjoyed watching it and trying to say the words back. I've learned a few things and so we're hopeful that we have a good start.

We also love reading books and go to our library as often as we can. Currently, we are reading through the Little House in the Big Woods.

My Selah girl cannot be left out of anything so while I work with Nathan, Selah is hard at work too. I'm taking it as a blessing and an opportunity to teach her to actually be still for a period longer than 10 seconds. :) We picked up the Get Ready for Preschool book for her and although she loves it, I know she isn't quite ready for some of the lessons. She spends most of her time coloring, playing match games, or putting together puzzles.

I'm putting together a list of great books and DVD's that we have enjoyed, so keep an eye out!

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Most Important Thing We Can Learn from the Duggar Scandal

In recent years, there have been far too many Christian leaders that have fallen prey to sexual misconduct. Bill Gothard. Doug Phillips. Jimmy Swaggart. Tony Alamo. Just to name a few. Now the spotlight is on Josh Duggar, the eldest of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar's 19 children from TLC's hit show 19 Kids and Counting.

You can read the news report here and the family's official statement here.

Now, it's no secret that this family has been very active and vocal spreading both conservative and Biblical values. I have been a long-time viewer of their show and have personally been greatly encouraged as a mom and as a wife. While our convictions are not exactly the same and there are several things I disagree with, I am supportive of wholesome television and I am in agreement with their strong stand on the beauty of purity, the importance of modesty, and the dangers of hormonal birth control.

Everyone is arguing over whether or not the situation was handled correctly and there is no way that I can say that it was handled properly. In fact, if the Duggars are as deeply involved in the Quiverfull movement and in the ATI program as it appears, then no, it was not handled properly at all. But as a parent myself, both of a little boy and two little girls, I doubt I would immediately have all the answers and know exactly what to do if it were me instead. Would I put up more safeguards? Yep. Would I be diligent and watch over ALL my children more than ever, doing whatever it took to keep them all safe? No question. 
Without a doubt, I would hate to be in the shoes of Jim Bob and Michelle. Can you imagine being the parent of both the victims AND the offender? What a nightmare.

While I in no way condone or defend his actions or the choices his parents made, the 
public shaming of the whole family is incredibly wrong. One sin committed years ago does not bar you from ever living a morally upright life. In the words of my Dad, "Your past can either be a hitching post or a guide post." We don't have all the details of what exactly happened because we weren't there. God was, though. And He recorded it all. Does that excuse what happened? Certainly not! Should Josh have known better? No doubt. 
Molestation is wrong.

Let me say it again: Molestation is wrong. Dead wrong. Completely and utterly wrong.

I think we can agree that there is no excuse for the horrible act committed twelve years ago. But is that just cause to set fire to a family now and dance on the ashes? I don't think it is. 
Keep in mind that Josh Duggar's official statement reads that he made Jesus his savior upon repenting and there is no indication that he has ever done anything like this in adulthood. Hence, this happened before salvation. This is exactly the kind of thing that Paul encourages us to remember in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Even the best of us fall prey to evil, whether that evil is big or small in the eyes of society. 
Nobody thought the Duggar family was perfect. At least, I didn't. But I believe there is something a little more important the Church needs to see and learn from this.

When a Christian leader falls hard into sin, the eyes of the world see and it gives them cause to mock the faith that we proclaim. That's why it's so important, no it's imperative that the people of God fortify their walls to prevent the enemy from sneaking in and destroying their home. Standards should be high! Less time should be wasted on vain pursuits and more of our time should be spent pouring over the Word of God that teaches us how to live and gives us the strength to do so. Satan wants to devour....and he does a viciously good job at it when there are breaches in our wall. 

Parents, we need to quit assuming that a good school curriculum, regular Church attendance, and firm moral rules are enough to give us godly children. We should fall on our knees every single day and wage war for the hearts of our kids, for the purity of their minds and bodies, and for the enemy to be bound from our home. Jesus promises us that kind of power, but if we're too lazy to take it, then it's our own fault.

My heart is deeply saddened by yet another horrible smear to Christianity. But what needs to stop is the ranting over what should have happened over a decade ago, and the gossip that is not only sinful, but only fuels the fire. Prayer is what this family needs. The victims, the family, Josh, and the entirety of the body of Christ - ourselves and our families included - should be brought to the holy throne of God who offers redemption and restoration.

Monday, May 4, 2015

What's So Honorable About Being a Stay-at-Home Mom?

I am writing this post in response to a question I received. This post in no way condemns working mothers and I gracefully ask that before you assume that it does, to please read the whole post before commenting.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, you know the feeling that comes over you when you see "Occupation" on paperwork. I've always filled it out as "Homemaker" and, sadly, I've been questioned many times about what I do all if managing a home and raising children are a breeze and not even considered a job. It's a little disheartening and, sometimes, even offensive when people pummel me with questions about how it feels to give up dreams and hobbies for the sake of washing dishes, ironing work shirts, and scrubbing kool-aid stains out of the carpet. In the spirit of humility, I'd like to make one thing very clear: The gifts and talents God gives to women are not meant to take away from the family and the home, but to build up the family and the home.

In the 1950's it's estimated that only 19% of young mothers worked outside the home. Now, roughly 80% of mothers are out in the work force. Motherhood has been stripped of its glory and made into a guilt-riddled, raging battle of the Mom's over who's the better parent. The career moms think the stay-at-home mom's are lazy and uneducated and the stay-at-home mom's believe the working mom's are selfish and careless about their children. The media is largely to blame for the tension and I, for one, would like it to stop.

I'm going to go ahead and clearly say that there is nothing wrong with working wives and mothers. Many women in Scripture held jobs - both small and great. Deborah and Esther were in politics, Lydia was in commercial trade, Priscilla was a tentmaker, many were midwives and nurses, the Proverbs 31 woman was industrious and worked to bring in extra income for her family. Nowhere in Scripture are women condemned from holding a job outside the walls of her house. However, though we have the freedom to go out into the career world, what is commanded by God in Scripture has become demonized by society - even by those inside the Church! Let's explore that...

God's Word does not condemn the working women, but it is very, very clear on where a wife and mother's priorities ought to be. In Titus 2, we find the older women commanded to teach the younger women some pretty important things:

Titus 2:3-5 - The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (emphasis mine)
Here we see that women are commanded to be keepers at home. The word "keeper" comes from the greek work Oikouros which means a guardian. It also means to be domestically inclined. This whole passage is teaching us our place as married women and mothers of children. We may want to work out of the home, we may HAVE to work outside the home, but our primary focus should be to look after our home - both spiritually and physically - and to manage our house with wisdom and godliness. The Proverbs 31 woman is a beautiful picture of a woman of God fulfilling Titus 2 while also holding a job. She is described as a strong woman with integrity and wisdom. Her husband trusts her, her children adore her, and she uses her gifts and talents, not in ways that will steal from her family but in ways that will bless them.

It's very difficult for a woman to fully keep watch over her house and her family when she is struggling to bring in income. That's why we ought to always seek the wisdom and guidance of God and let Him lead us. Our culture as a whole is anti-home and anti-family. Women all over America are pressured and expected to leave their children at a daycare and go out and "find themselves" by having a thriving career. Many times, the attitude behind it is pure selfishness and greed. Though there's absolutely nothing wrong with daycares and being out in the work force, if our children and our homes suffer, we are not in God's will. In fact, according to Scripture, God's Word is blasphemed!


1 Timothy 5:14 says something very similar as Titus:

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

Now, we can get mad and come up with lots of exceptions, but the truth remains. If we say we ought to obey God and yet pick and choose what we want to obey out of the Scriptures, we become hypocrites and we cause unbelievers to speak evil of the Word of God because they see our outright disobedience to His commands. When we ignore the words of God, we are blaspheming that Word by not taking it seriously. Notice that in both Titus 2 and 1 Timothy 5, women are specifically commanded to care for their children and oversee their homes. I would venture to say that it is not only important to fix peanut butter sandwiches and scrub the floors, but it's honorable. In the midst of the messes, the busyness, and the tiring days, it's beautiful.

I have many hobbies. I have many goals and dreams of my own. But God gave me those things to honor Him in His way, not my way. If I go out and become a Grammy-award winning singer and yet neglect to nurture my children and train them up according to the principles of Scripture like I am commanded to do in Proverbs 22:6, I have blasphemed the Word of God. I can venture to write best-selling novels or travel all over the world for business but if my home suffers, my husband lacks affection, and my children are not trained by the authority God gave them - me and their daddy! - I have caused the watching world to speak evil about the Gospel of Christ. My job is to purposefully make my little ones the priority over musical (or any other!) aspirations. It doesn't matter if I'm singing in a stadium or singing a lullaby to my baby girl, if it is in line with the precepts of the Bible, I am in obedience.

When women of God delve into His Word and obey it, they will be honored. The Proverbs 31 woman was up before daybreak (something I have yet to master) cooking and cleaning and training her children all while selling merchandise. That's honorable. It's time to quit foolishly attacking each other and subtly looking at the home-all-day moms and the at-the-desk-all-day moms with arrogance or mean spirited resentment. It's not a competition on who's more holy. All that matters is if we are obeying God's Word.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

You Shouldn't Have So Many Kids

Not long ago, I had to make a trip to the grocery store. An errand like that used to be simple. Now, with three children four and under, it is anything but simple!

After I made sure the diaper bag was stocked, sippy cups were filled, and shoes and coats were on, I strapped and buckled each child in their seats and we made the 20 minute trip to town. Once there, I unbuckled each child, grabbed a cart, settled my 18 week old in the carrier against my chest and we walked into the store. I noticed plenty people staring at this semi-young woman toting three very small children into a building chocked full of food, toys, and candy where disasters were very, very possible, and I felt like a circus show.

Even more recently I endured a very offensive verbal confrontation in the store which left me rattled for hours. In the spirit of pure selfishness, I was approached by a complete stranger who stared at my kids and then said that one child is bad enough; that by having SO MANY (it's only three, y'all...hardly worthy of the Guinness Book of Records), I'm one to be pitied. How thankful I am that my little ones are too small to understand the complete lack of value our world has for their precious lives!

It's funny when I think about it. Years ago, it was completely normal for women to have five, ten, even fifteen children! And yet, here we are in a society that gawks in disgust when a young woman has three small children. More often than not, they are treated like an annoying disruption to the norm. Pro-choice seems to be only for the ones who want to kill their babies, not for those who want them.

I've blogged about the pill. I've blogged about the blessing of children and how much I love being a mom. Of course, it's exhausting. Of course, there is precious little time for many hobbies that I enjoy. Yes, there are moments when I want to pull my hair out and moments when I would love to just walk out the door without having to fill a diaper bag, load up three crazy kids, and make sure seat belts are tight, a stroller is in the back, and I have extra baby wipes should a crisis occur. But those things pale in comparison to the joy my kids bring. My little boy told me last week that I was "the good-est mom he's ever seen!" My two year old little girl regularly asks me to hold her and randomly gives me the sweetest hugs and kisses. She joins me in the bathroom each morning and brushes my hair while I'm getting ready. My baby girl greets me every single morning with the most precious baby grin and happily falls asleep in my arms every night after a feeding.

To all the nay-sayers, these little miracles with peanut butter smudged on their faces and dirt under their finger nails are eternity with skin on. They're little souls whom God has designed and each of them have a special calling upon their lives. I don't have too many kids. I have exactly what I'm meant to have; exactly what the Creator Himself has given to my husband and me. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Silly Bunny, Easter is About Jesus

I find it very sad that Christian parents are having to constantly fight the world to keep Christ as the center of our holidays. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny seem to be the two we struggle with the most as they are at the forefront of our two most important Christian celebrations.

My little boy is currently in love with all things Bible - and I absolutely love that. He is always some Bible character or telling us a Bible story or, more recently, asking questions about Jesus and His death on the cross. This Easter in particular, he is very interested in the story of Jesus and His resurrection which made me all the more excited to do some fun things with my kiddos to celebrate this special time of year.

On the Tuesday before Easter, I gathered my two oldest and we made an Empty Garden Tomb! First, we went outside with a bowl and our garden shovel....

We found a nice patch of grass and dirt and dug it up and plopped it into our bowl.

....we found a pretty flower too

I was too busy keeping little hands away from the knife to document, but once inside, we took a semi-large potato and I cut off one end, then made a small hole for the inside of the tomb. We took the tip of the end I had cut and used that as the stone door to cover the opening.

Nathan ran outside to gather some rocks....

Then he ran up to his room and got his toy Jesus that He HAD to put beside the empty tomb.

Very proud of himself!
Our spunky little helper, all covered in chocolate

To get these great paper banners, you can click here for the free PDF file
over at

Our finished work! 

Once we finished, we settled down with our favorite Easter DVD, He is Risen, from the Nest Family Series. I used to love this DVD as a child and now I am very happy that both my children love watching it as well.

**On a side note, we also love the new Superbook DVD's.

On the Saturday before Easter, we brought out the Resurrection Eggs and had a wonderful time teaching our kids more about the significance of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. They gathered up all 12 eggs in record time, then we ran back inside with our Bible and Resurrection Eggs pamphlet.

As each egg was opened, they discovered a special symbol inside that told the story of the last week of Jesus' life, ending with his resurrection. I highly recommend this great alternative.

It's so important to saturate our children with the things of God. I encourage you to do all you can to make each day, especially our beloved Christian holidays, completely and utterly about Jesus.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sorrow, Suffering and the Shepherd

This season of our lives has been one mingled with joy and sorrow. When winter's chill was deeply settled in, it forced me to be still (wrapped up in a blanket!) and truly think about all the joy that God has poured into my life. Specifically, with our newest arrival, Lily Eden. She brought a sweet peace and happiness into our home that I never knew was lacking!

But many times, joy goes hand-in-hand with sorrow. Recently, we discovered that my Momma has breast cancer. Cancer is never something the heart takes lightly and it has rattled us and scared us to the core. But - and I can only attribute this to the promises of God - peace has abounded. I honestly can't put into words the confidence that we have had in the hope of Jesus. I know that doesn't necessarily mean she will be completely or miraculously healed. But just as I know that winds howl and waves crash, I also know that these waves are still calmed by the same Voice who rebuked them 2,000 years ago. And that brings me peace.

I've recently opened up my favorite book - Hind's Feet on High Places - to read again through this trial and one portion in particular has given me such strength and calmness of spirit. If you are unfamiliar with the book's story, it's about a young girl named Much-Afraid who longs to leave the Valley of Humiliation and join the great Shepherd on the high places. Along her journey, she encounters Pride, she escapes Craven Fear, and she endures the shores of Loneliness. The Shepherd has promised to always be just a whisper away - even when she cannot see Him at all. At the beginning of the long, hard journey, she is given two companions - Sorrow and Suffering. Here is an excerpt from the book:

"I can't go with them," she gasped. "I can't! I can't! O my Lord Shepherd, why do you do this to me? How can I travel in their company? It is more than I can bear. You tell me that the mountain way itself is so steep and difficult that I cannot climb it alone. Then why, oh why, must you make Sorrow and Suffering my companions? Couldn't you have given me Joy and Peace to go with me, to strengthen me and encourage me and help me on the difficult way? I never thought you would do this to me!" And she burst into tears. 
A strange look passed over the Shepherd's face as he listened to this outburst, then looking at the veiled figures as he spoke, he answered very gently, "Joy and Peace. Are those the companions you would choose for yourself? You remember your promise, to accept the helpers that I would give, because you believed that I would choose the very best possible guides for you. Will you still trust me, Much-Afraid? Will you go with them, or do you wish to turn back to the Valley, and to all your Fearing relatives, to Craven Fear himself? 
Much-Afraid shuddered. The choice seemed terrible. Fear she knew only too well, but Sorrow and Suffering had always seemed to her the two most terrifying things which she could encounter. How could she go with them and abandon herself to their power and control? It was impossible. Then she looked at the Shepherd and suddenly she knew she could not doubt him, could not possibly turn back from following him; that if she were unfit and unable to love anyone else in the world, yet in her trembling, miserable little heart, she did love him. Even if he asked the impossible, she could not refuse. 
She looked at him piteously, then said, "Do I wish to turn back? O Shepherd, to whom should I go? In all the world I have no one but you. Help me to follow you, even though it seems impossible. Help me to trust you as much as I long to love you." 
As he heard these words the Shepherd suddenly lifted his head and laughed - a laugh full of exultation and triumph and delight.... Then he added, "Fear not, Much-Afraid, only believe. I promise that you shall not be put to shame. Go with Sorrow and Suffering, and if you cannot welcome them now, when you come to the difficult places where you cannot manage alone, put your hands in theirs confidently and they will take you exactly where I want you to go." 
Much-Afraid stood quite still, looking up into his face, which now had such a happy, exultant look, the look of one who above all things else delights in saving and delivering...
"Others have gone this way before me," she thought., "and they could even sing about it afterwards. Will he who is so strong and gentle be less faithful and gracious to me, weak and cowardly though I am, when it is so obvious that the thing he delights in most of all is to deliver his followers from all their fears and to take them to the High Places?" 

Each time I read this, I can't help but love Jesus more. He hears my heart when I cannot speak. He's not overwhelmed by me or my fears. He's not turned off by my neediness. He doesn't get exasperated by my crying over things that are nothing more than a mosquito bite in His eyes. He's just there, gently calling me higher, even through mist, loneliness, howling storms, or my own human cripplings. 

There is so much freedom in that. So much peace.

I ask for your prayers for my family - especially my sweet Momma. The waves and winds still know the Voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Making the Most of the Younger Years

Recently while the girls were napping, Nathan and I had afternoon tea for the first time. I brought out my beautiful little tea pot and some of our wedding china, made some tea cakes, and enjoyed some precious time with my three year old little boy.

We worked on our manners and we discussed baseball, books, and David & Goliath (his favorite story ever!)

The more I delve into the Word of God, the more I see God's intent for motherhood. With three children ranging in age from 9 weeks to almost 4 years, chaos seems inevitable. And chaos is not an atmosphere for one-on-one quiet time! So if I want to win the hearts of my children, I have to be intentional in exchanging laziness for diligence. I have to do all I can to reject disorder and cultivate order and peace within my home. If this is done, then the stage is set for big opportunities to make the most of the little years and reach my children for Christ. This world will envelop our kids if we, as parents, are not doing our job in winning the hearts of our children.

On the outside, reaching the hearts of our children for Christ when they are small seems a bit much. Why not wait until they are older? As challenging as the younger years are, I firmly believe that if we hesitate to disciple our little ones when they are small, we miss out on vital opportunities to instill the power of the Gospel into their lives. Little ones are sponges and they absorb so much! Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 to "come as little children"and He did that for the purpose of reminding us of a child's inherent, trusting nature. Unlike us adults, children are more apt to believe without the need of physical proof. That's why it is so important that we seize the younger years and use each moment of our day to pour the Gospel into their little hearts, tilling up the ground and planting seeds of faith. 

I wasn't quite ready to hand him a good piece of china, so we practiced with our John Deer mug. :)

I am no creative person. But I'm learning that I don't have to be a Pinterest mom and come up with impressive, blog-worthy ways to make the most of my time with my children. The little tea party I set up was about the extent of my creative ability as a mom! But you don't have to set out china and have tea. You can simply take a ride in the car or bring your children to the park. It doesn't take a lot of planning or a special place, just the heart-felt intent to invite Christ into the moment. Simply set aside a time where you can sit down with you child, one on one. Here are some examples of how we can seize the opportunity to disciple our little ones:

Talk with your children about what God is doing in your life
Children aren't fools. We can tell them what to do all the day long, but if we are not actively pursuing a growing and vibrant relationship with Jesus, they will not be impacted. Open up and be honest with what you are learning in your Christian walk. Recently I was having a very emotionally trying day and every little thing had me on edge. I found myself snapping at my kids and I wasn't very gentle or patient. Finally, I pulled Nathan aside and I apologized for my behavior. I was honest with him and explained that just as I was teaching him to obey those in authority over him, I was also being taught by God to obey Him.

Read your children stories of great men and women of the faith. 
Nathan's favorite stories are Bible stories. He loves the stories of David and Goliath, Daniel, and Joseph. I recently began telling him the story of Richard Wurmbrand. Reading stories of men and women of God who did extraordinary things and endured a lot of persecution builds an understanding of what it means to follow Christ. Don't be deceived into thinking it's too much for them to handle. You can make certain stories age appropriate without dismissing or glossing over any truth. The Holy Spirit will lead you.

Explain the attributes of the Christian life.
We have recently begun memorizing the definitions of love, found in 1 Corinthians 13. As we learn each element of love, I explain what they mean to us and how we can live them out. Love is patient. What is patience? Have I been patient today? What are ways I have not been patient? How can I have more patience? Break it down with your children and give them practical and real-life examples and pictures to understand it better. 

Sing hymns and worship songs, and explain what they mean.
From time to time, I will read from the book of Psalms. Psalms are songs to God and it's one of my favorite books in the Bible. I also love the hymns, so I play them regularly. We listen to praise and worship and lots of great Christian music that are in line with Scripture. It's important to teach our children to sing and praise the Lord, but it's also important to teach them what these songs mean. Pick a song and play it until you all know it by heart. Psalm 40:3 says God, "...hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it..." Let them hear songs of praise and SEE those words come to life in your home day-by-day.

Teach your children to memorize Scripture.
The story of Richard Wurmbrand is a huge example to me when it comes to memorizing Scripture. He was put in prison in Romania for his faith and while there for over 10 years, he was never allowed to have a Bible. That didn't stop him though. He knew a good portion of the Bible by heart and would "read" whole chapters from memory. His wife, Sabina, was also imprisoned for her faith and could also recite passages from memory. She said of her time in prison, "The words gave hope, comfort, life....How I wished I'd learned more of it by heart!" Psalm 119:11 says, "Thy word have I hit in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." As I said earlier, children are sponges and so if we can take the younger years and teach them to memorize Scripture, we build a foundation of faith that they can stand upon later in life. The verses I memorized as a child, I can still quote to you because they were drilled into me at an age where I could learn and retain easily. You can make Scripture memorization fun. You can even use Scripture Songs! However you go about it, make the most of these formidable years to give your kids the gift of God's word.

Never have I ever felt so overwhelmed and ill prepared than in motherhood. Raising little ones is hard, but training them and pointing them to Jesus seems daunting and very, very scary. Yet regardless of how intimidated and busy I may be, God will be faithful to me in my mothering. As long as I step out in obedience and train up my children in His ways, He will be faithful to complete the work He said He would do.

May we all keep working, keep praying, and keep diligently training our children to love Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What to Expect From 50 Shades of Grey

It's 3 A.M. and I just fed my little one and laid that sweet little bundle of cuteness back in her bed. As a mother of three young children, I should be reveling in the sweet sleep that isn't offered to me that often. Instead, however, I'm here with a heavy heart.

This Friday history will be made as millions will flock to the cinemas to see the most sexually explicit R-rated film to date. Waving the banner of romance, this counterfeit love story will beat its way into the hearts and minds of women and men all over the country. It doesn't surprise me much that millions will see this movie. The Word tells us that in the last days there will be a huge moral decline. What does bother me are the scores of professed Christian women not only eager to watch this film, but who are defending it with a passion. A passion that scares me. That is why this wife and mommy is up at 3 A.M.

I can't stop anyone from reading these books or seeing the movie. I can give plenty of reasons why it should be avoided at all costs but, in the end, we all make our own choices. But let me tell you what you should expect if you do decide to stroll into the theater with your popcorn and soda.

  1. Expect your marriage to be affected. Many women have defended 50 Shades by saying that their sex life with their husband has become more exciting as a result of reading this series. Tell me, at what point in your Christian walk did it become acceptable to indulge in pornogrphy in order to make your love life more exhilarating? Quite honestly, my sex life with my husband is satisfying enough without the aid of provocative books, magazines, or movies. Maybe after viewing this movie you will come home eager to jump into the arms of your husband but. let me be frank, it's no different than your husband viewing pornography in order to get his engine running before he jumps into your arms. Same thing, just a different vehicle. The sinful relationship between an unmarried couple should not be the example a Christian married couple follows. If you soak up 50 Shades, sister, you can expect a change in your marriage. It may very well begin with a bedroom romp, but as is the time-tested result of pornography, soon it won't be enough. Slowly, but most assuredly, you will tear down your marriage brick by brick.

    Hebrews 13:4
    Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
  2. Expect your walk with Christ to be infected. Somehow, in all the comments I have read from professing women of the faith, I have seen a defiant defense of this series instead of a sobering and passionate call to purity and honor. Have we lost all respect and thankfulness for our Savior that we would spit in His blood like this? Have we no shame at all in being entertained by the very evil that He died to set us free from? If you open your heart and welcome Christian Grey in, expect Christ to be far from you. We can either choose the lust and bondage of Mr. Grey, or we can choose the love, the purity, and the freedom in Christ. We can't have it both ways. That's just a fact.

    Matthew 6:24
    No man can serve
     two masters
    : for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

My heart has trembled and my eyes have cried sitting and watching my sisters handcuffed to this series. I'm raising my children in a world where evil isn't lurking in the dark alleyways anymore, but paraded down the Church aisle. But y'all...

I love my daughters too much to allow them to be taught that the relationship between Christian and Ana is a healthy, loving relationship; that bondage, humiliation, degradation, and punishment are ingredients in a love story. I want them to revel in the freedom of truth and be able to walk confidently in the knowledge that Jesus is the picture of what love really is.

I love my son too much not to shield him from a world that will tell him that porn is normal and healthy. I don't want him indoctrinated by Hollywood, I want him instructed in righteousness. I love my children enough to introduce them, not to E.L. James, but to the Author of real love. And, God help me, I'm going to fight garbage like this for the sake of my children's purity until my dying day.

I love my husband too much to allow myself to be swept off my emotional feet by a fictional character. Frankly, as a young woman married five years with three children, I am plenty satisfied in my marital bed. I don't need a supplement that my enemy can use to plant seeds of discontentment in my heart. I have too much respect for my God-fearing, hard working, adoring husband to even begin to compare him with a sadist who has no concept of real love, commitment and sacrifice.

Finally, I love my God too much to disobey Him. If He says to steer clear of the things that drive a wedge between us, then I have to obey. There is no part of me that wants to shove His grace into the sewer and gobble up poison. I love Him enough to believe that He will bless the ones who walk in His ways, and judge what is wicked.

To those of you on the front lines of purity and righteousness, I'm wielding my sword with you. It's the casualties of this war that has me up at 3 A.M. but, nevertheless, it is a comfort to know that when it's all said and done, we win the battle. That's a mighty good thing we can expect.

Monday, January 19, 2015

So You Don't Want to Wait for Marriage

Last summer, a woman wrote a blog post about how she remained a virgin until marriage and how much she wished she hadn't.

She wrote about how she signed her name to the True Love Waits pledge at 10 years of age, how she wore her "virginity badge" with honor all throughout her teen years. Then on her wedding night, instead of joyously experiencing the beauty of God's way, she felt dirty and awkward. She hated being intimate with her husband, underwent therapy, and finally shucked religion altogether.

Suffice it to say, the post went viral. Reading it, my heart broke. There's no telling how many read that blog and decided that purity wasn't worth saving.

So you don't want to wait for marriage? May I give you another side of the story that is far different from the one above? You see I, too, signed my name to the TLW pledge at an early age. I, too, remained a virgin all throughout my teenage years and into my early twenties. I, too, was pure on my wedding night. So let me be honest and give you some good advice, from someone who's also been there, done that.

Many make the mistake of assuming that virginity and purity are the same thing when, in truth, there is a difference between the two. Virginity is something we have and give away once, preferably to our spouse on our wedding night as commanded by God. It's priceless and we can never get it back. Purity, however, goes deeper. Purity is a not simply something, it's a lifestyle of shunning sin and embracing what is holy and beautiful. The young woman who wrote that blog had a misconception of the two and I believe the Church is partially responsible.

The Church has failed its young people by making marital intimacy appear boring and unexciting. Instead of seeing Christian couples in the Church madly in love and enjoying all the blessings of sex inside of marriage, they see most of them battling pornography addictions, having affairs, or undergoing painful divorces. For the most part, young people grow up either believing their elders are outright lying to them OR they grow up being indoctrinated that sex is dirty and shameful. And as a result, they either reject the notion of marriage altogether, or they carry that into their marriage and end up feeling impure once they hand over their virginity to their spouse. The problem isn't that they remained a virgin, the problem is the fuel behind their choice and the misconception of what purity truly is. If you make the choice to remain a virgin until your wedding night, assuming that's all there is to purity, you are going to be disappointed and you will likely wind up with just as much angst as the girl who wrote that blog. Purity is not merely something you "have." Purity is a way of life that can only be lived through the blood and the power of Jesus Christ. If you want a heavenly marriage, you will live in purity. You will carry it with you always, not leave it on the bed on your wedding night. It will go with you as you fold laundry, buy groceries, and pay your bills. It will walk with you into the sanctuary at your Church and into the bedroom with your husband.

Was my wedding night awkward? Not really, no.

Did I feel dirty and ashamed? Not once.

Did I grow to dread intimacy with my spouse after that? Not at all (my three kids likely prove that, eh? ;)

I made the same choices as that young woman did. The difference between us both, however, is the reasons behind the choices I made. I didn't stay a virgin because it was expected of me or because everybody else was signing cards pledging to do it too. I didn't stay a virgin because the Church pounded the notion into my head, threatening me with hell fire if I gave it away before the wedding vows. I made the choices I did because saving physical intimacy is a command of God and based on a principle of God's Kingdom. In Matthew 7:6, Jesus told His disciples, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine." 

I trusted that the Lord would be faithful to me. And He was.

Countless young people read that blog post and fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. No doubt many decided to forgo sexual purity and hand over their virginity simply because it's their body and their choice. But to that young woman and all the others in the same boat, I say this: Of all the things of great value in your life, one of the most precious is your sexuality. It's meant to be a holy and set-apart place of our being and reserved for only one to have access. It's not about rules and regulations, it's about God granting us a little brush with heaven. When God sets the stage for marital intimacy, it will never ever lose its beauty.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Resolutions for a Momma

Happy (belated) New Year!

Currently, my hands are very full. I have a three and a half year old, an almost-two year old, and a four week old that demand my attention and my care 24/7. My heart is much more full than my hands ever could be, but my work load is, nevertheless, far from light. Entering a new year with a brand new baby, I thought long and hard about my resolutions for 2015. To be honest, it got overwhelming. My list of things I'd like to do is long. But the more I tried to make resolutions like "I will write more Thank You notes this year" and "I will finally organize that closet I keep avoiding," the Lord slowly redirected my thoughts.

I haven't blogged much at all lately and my book I have been working on for over a year is nowhere near complete. But instead of letting that make me feel like a failure and that my potential is being wasted away, I resolve to read one more book to my little boy and use the writing time I get - be it very little - to do my best. (Col. 3:17)

My hair stays in virtually one style and I'm spending these rare "me" moments writing this blog post instead of working to firm up these flabby abs. But instead of choosing to let that make me feel unattractive, I resolve to smile and put on Jesus Christ; letting Him be my beauty. (Col. 3:12-17)

In the wee morning hours while feeding my baby, I've spent more time playing on my phone than praying and meditating on God's Word. Instead of allowing myself to be caught up in distractions, I resolve to take my thoughts captive and delight in the law of the Lord. (Psalm 1:2)

I'm ashamed to say I've been ushering my kids upstairs to get them out of my hair lately. Instead of letting laziness be my boss, I resolve to play more board games, put together more puzzles, and to reach the heart of my children in 2015. (Prov. 31:28)

My nails are chipped, my laundry is endless, my kids need a bath, and I'd love to sit down with tea and book (and quiet that doesn't mean my little girl is writing on the walls again!). But instead of feeling overwhelmed, my resolution is to live joyfully. There will always messes to clean, meals to bake, events to attend, and dates to remember. There will always be a list of things to do and groceries to buy. There will always be people I will disappoint and expectations I will not meet. But no more guilt! To echo Jonathan Edwards, my resolution for 2015 is to live with all my might while I do live.

Micah 6:8
"...and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

May 2015 bring us close to the feet of Jesus and may our cup be full-to-the-brim of His joy!


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