Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mom Time With God While Homeschooling

Homeschooling your children will be one of the hardest things you ever attempt. But without a doubt, you and your children will reap many blessings that will be impossible to duplicate schooling any other way. All moms must become aware of the focus of her heart. Homeschooling is one of the pressures in life that can bring our spiritual failures to the surface quickly. I want to teach you how your "time with God" can be the focus of your day.

So many of us have been taught to believe that "time with God" is done in quiet meditation and prayer; reading and studying His Word; and lingering at His feet. Is this not how Mary chose the best over Martha? I think we miss the point in the Mary and Martha scenario.

Practicing The Presence of God While Homeschooling

The point being taught was not concerned with 'doing': what Martha 'was doing' while serving versus Mary 'not doing', but don't we focus on this! How silly we can be! God doesn't focus on our outward actions, He looks into our heart.

So what was the difference between the hearts of the two ladies?

  • Mary's heart was captured by Jesus and 
  • Martha's heart was captured by duty, responsibility, and being a good host. 

How does this compare to homeschool parents? The bottom line: Your life is busy like Martha's. You have a lot of responsibilities teaching many subjects, caring for your children emotionally and developmentally, preparing meals (when you can... sandwiches, pizza and pancakes count as meals), doing what little household work you can get to each day. And we can't forget, we also have to consider our husband to keep our marriage thriving.

When your days are full to overflowing with what 'you must do' you still have time to be with God, if you Learn this simple but powerful Biblical act of worship.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Marriage is Hard Work

WARNING: What you read in this post might not sound like it was written by a member of a church. I am a Follower of Jesus that broke out of the "church-lady" mold a long time ago. Marriages fail when people don't feel loved. To a wife, she wants to be cherished. To a husband, he wants to be respected. But truly are not cherishing and respecting another two aspects of what it means to love another!

Hurting people hurt those closest to them, and the core of the pain is not knowing you are loved by God, another and yourself.

Life-long Love - Marriage is Worth it!

I remember about 15 years ago...

when I taught a women's Bible study class at what was then called First Baptist of Smyrna. I confessed to the women in the class that I was so mad at my husband I wished an 18 wheeler truck would run him over. Needless to say my time as a Bible teacher at that church was short-lived.

I had no qualms about speaking so forthright, but is it took me almost 20 years to finally figure out why churches keep finding creative ways to not use me in ministry. (This is a whole 'nother topic I will get to another day.)

I just got permission from my dear husband of now 27 write about hard lessons learned in our marriage.

So here is the gritty dirty truth about marriage that "good pretend-people" don't want to share:

Marriage (a commitment to another person and God to remain together for life) is very hard to accomplish, even if you are a Christian!

Marriage joins together by a solemn vow to God two people who are completely uniquely, created individuals. They have:
  • their own personalities (quirks, habits, annoyances, pet-peeves, and the good stuff too).
  • their strengths and weaknesses that come in all shapes and sizes.
  • a past... none of us are born at 21 to be freshly married; we each have lived some.
  • their own dreams, and ideas of what success looks and feel like.
  • different relatives and friends (usually).
On top of that, we are sinners! God is not going to be finished with either of you during your married life.

So, two people are put together to live in one house, and closer than that one room and no matter how hard it might be through thick and thin, one bed (that doesn't mean you can't spend a night or two on the sofa if needed).
  • You also share a kitchen, living room, bathroom, garage and cars.
  • And the biggest grace builder in life, you share your children, who at the same time can be the very glue that forces you to endure life together but all the while scrapes you like rough edges of sandpaper or a broken bottle (whichever may be the case, in your family). 
Does that really sound easy? No! 

But here is the clincher, and the beauty of it all: Making Marriage work is worth every bit of effort it takes! The path of least resistance and trials do not make a mutually fulfilling, deeply loving marriage. If you don't work in your marriage, someone is ignoring, stuffing or avoiding their pain.

Before I write one more word, don't you dare think I am saying you should hang in there for life with a violent, wicked, abusive person. If someone beats you, curses continually at you (verbally slashes you with painful derogatory words), forces you into sex, controls your every move, etc... get out of that prison as soon as you can. And I know what I am talking about because my childhood was traumatically abusive. Flee quickly and get to a physical place that you and your children are safe.

Be open to God doing redeeming work of healing your marriage, but don't ever stay in an abusive or seriously neglectful situation. Protect yourself, (and your children)!

Through many shared testimonies, I will tell you a firm fact: God can touch the heart of the wickedest people and change them from the inner core to their outer actions and words. We all need grace and opportunities to know God's love, acceptance and forgiveness. At the same time, understand that some people will never let God into their life. Some people will remain wicked, sick and hateful. You are never bound to life with a person like this.

In every marriage, on all varying levels of conflict, we all have many times that we need one-on-one relationship time with our Maker, Redeemer, Healer, Lover, Acceptor, and dearest Friend - Jesus!

Remember: We all need grace and opportunities to know God's love, acceptance and forgiveness. 

A marriage that lasts, that grows, that becomes cherished has been allowed to go through the hardest of years... the years when no yield was produced, when you lost more than you received, when you died more than you lived, when cried more than you laughed, NEVER try to bury yourself in pretending "wedded bliss" or a life-sentence of emptiness. Here is the greatest advice I can give: NEVER GIVE UP! Don't Quit! Cling to your commitment, be a vow keeper.

If you fight (work) through, even inch by inch progress, with each person trying as best as they can to:
  • allow God to improve them, 
  • become more who God intended them to be from the start, 
  • be conformed to Christ-likeness.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Deception Found in Homeschooling

Who enjoys revealing problems? Who loves to confess sin? Who wants people to know their vulnerabilities?

I want to be transparent, and real to you. I want you to be able to trust me.... to know that I am just like you in some ways. I want to connect.

Hopefully my home isn't more depraved than all other homeschoolers. Bomb Shell! We have sinners in our home. Did that destroy my testimony?

No, it only makes it richer because I have faith in God to work through my husband and I - our love, our prayers, our Biblical teachings, our modeling - to bring our children to repentance.

I am not going to rat out one or more of my children... they have enough problems and don't need a  mom wallpapering their faults on a blog. But I need to talk about this - we have a liar in our home... someone that continually lies, someone that naturally lies, someone that seems to prefer lying even when telling the truth would be obviously easier. I am sure you did not gasp in horror, but this is a serious problem!

Deception separates us from God. Remember Adam and Eve....hiding and covering themselves up. We should expect the very original sin to be dripping with deception. Lying never ends good!

My thoughts rush to the Garden of Eden... Satan wanted God's children. He used deception to separate them from God. Satan is at it over and over in our home. He wants the children God has given us to raise up for Him to be separated from us and God. He wants my children to be isolated, to try to hide, to close their ears but mostly to make their heart rocky, hard, and cold. Reacting I want to target my child, but wisdom from God illuminates the spiritual affair. Satan has been at work building a mighty tower, a stronghold, a dungeon for my child to crawl into. And he hopes my child will feel so guilty and shameful, to never believe freedom is a possibility.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Choose to Love

I saw a beautiful poster on my Facebook feed, so like a child I went to go look at it.

Over 700 hundred people on this Facebook group page "liked" this quote and over 400 had positive comments to say about it.

And I looked around at the page I found myself, it was called "Wipeout Homophobia On Facebook."

I saw other posters and quotes being shared like:

And this one:

I saw a young man that had been brutally beaten... his video taken after being attacked and others felt compelled to rally around wanting this kind of cruelty to stop. I understood. 

But then I thought... the people on this page believe and hold dear a different principle - a core belief - that is opposite of mine. And both can not be embraced as truth for one person. For if you believe one to be true, the other is false. Both could be false, but both could not be true... my more logical reasoning friends will recognize this as one of the first basic types of arguments in the study of logic and debate.

But I continue to think, being the thinking person God created me to be. 

Is it possible for one person to love and respect another, to honor and give another the freedom to choose what they believe? In choosing to believe differently, does the other person's beliefs wipeout what I believe? Or if my chosen beliefs are different, do my beliefs wipeout what another person chooses? 

Since without that choice, are not we simply forcing others to believe as we do? 

Can two people who believe differently, whose life truths are mutually exclusive, still love and respect each other enough to not force them to conform to the other's beliefs? 

Is this not really what we all desire? be able to "hold true" to our faith without being persecuted, oppressed, attacked. Can you love a person who believes differently than you do? Can you accept them and not hurt them?

Can I believe the Biblical principle that marriage is between one man and one woman? And at the same time, can another believe the cultural principle that  marriage is  between two men or two women? And if we both believe differently, is it possible for us to mutually love and respect each other, to honor and give each the freedom to choose what they believe without forcing others to believe as we individually do or without offensively shoving it in their face?

Is it possible - in love- to still remain "true" to our own life principles and allow others to remain "true" to what they believe without criticizing, belittling or making a judgement on the person. (Of course, we make an inner judgement on the belief, we know we believe absolutely differently, but does that make us have to be hateful or even to want to respond in disgust?)

Do this compromise my faith... what I believe? If I am allowed to have my beliefs and to openly express them. And just the same, allow others to have their believes and openly express them.

Does this compromise God and His principles? If God's principles can't be changed, and God never wants anyone to be forced to believe. He wants us to choose by freewill. Are we able to believe differently, and remain kind-hearted?

If God wants there to be a choice, will there not be different beliefs to choose from? How can you have a choice if everyone is under the compulsion to parrot back and embrace one belief?

So I, stepping out into the space of making myself a vulnerable target, posed this question on the "Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook page":

Can I ask a question without being attacked?

 I think most people would agree that everyone should be who God created them to be, that if we all sadly find ourselves victims of bitterness, ignorance and insecurities. Everyone should know and feel loved! It is a beautiful life when we can be brave enough to listen to the still and quiet voice inside our head. I totally embrace all of this and desire it in my life, and for all others. And I totally don't agree with or would I stand by and let anyone be bullied or beat or mistreated. I would hope no one would allow this to happen to me.
Here is my question: Do we all have to agree to have the same principles? Is it OK for you to have one voice speaking in your head what you embrace and another voice speaking in my head? If we believe in different principles does it make us enemies? Or do we only become enemies when we force others to embrace what we hold dear? Can we not respect each other enough in our humanitiy to be different and to not have to change others? 
We can each speak and share what we believe, what we love. We can openly share how we see life and how we have experienced pain, rejection, forgiveness, acceptance and love without being cutting, nasty, mean or cruel to another? Is this a possibility? Are do we, must we, confess to believe what we do not just so that another doesn't feel rejected? If you called me names... mad fun of me... attacked me personally, would you not be guilty of the same thing which you so profess to be against? 
Love knows no boundaries. We should be able to offer everyone love. Even when it is hard, even when we are hurt, even when we are bullied. Because abuse and bullying knows no limits or focus groups or direction... we can - as humans - all be targeted by another's bitterness, anger and hurt.
But to live by love... for love to mean acceptance of another person (period) not acceptance of their inner core beliefs, but acceptance enough to allow them to be fully who they are inside and express it outside. Is not this what you are asking for yourself? 
I may be simple minded, a child in heart, but I can't see why we can't love one another, be kind to each other, accept each other and not push our own beliefs in the face of another or not allow another to determine what they genuinely believe. Isn't that decision, the ability to chose, what makes us human? 
I choose to love, accept and not willfully hurt or purposely offend other people. I choose to treat others with respect as I also wish I could be treated. I choose to allow others to make core principle decisions for themselves. I choose to be who I am created to be and to stand unafriad of my beliefs. I choose to love! 
What do you choose? Do we all give each other the ability to choose?


I have not heard back and don't know if my response or post will be removed from the page. But I could not help but ask, since I cannot help but want everyone to know that they are loved! 

Romans 8:5 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.