Monday, June 30, 2014

Raising A Christian Child

As a Christian homeschoolering parent, I raised our children to live life as a Christian, to live with a Christian worldview, to live in the world but to not be one of the world. 
Credits: Family by Shadowsplicer Deviantart

I never considered how to raise a non-Christian. I simply wanted my child to be prepared for how to live as a Christian in a non-Christian world. I wanted them to be strong enough as an individual to be able to stand on their own two feet. I wanted their faith to be their own, not mine. Therefore, I taught my children more than anything how to think.

It has not always been easy because my children question everything. They do not just believe something because it was taught or spoken. To some degree, they mentally challenge it. And for this I am glad. 

Peer Pressure - Outside Influence

I think the biggest thing I was not prepared for was the strong influence of peer pressure. I felt my children being secure in knowing they were loved by two parents was enough to not desire to be love by others. Certainly, I knew if they ever genuinely knew they were loved by God it would not matter, that God's love would always trump peers. Therefore, I kept moving in the direction that all of my children would eventually be Christians and secure in God's love for them.
Today I have one adult child who has not made a full yielding commitment to the Lord and does not know how deeply God loves. This child looks for others to confirm directions, self-worth and approval. Peers are much more important than parents in the secular worldview. Parents love is expected and not cherished. There is an unquenchable drive to be approved, accepted, and liked by others. And with this comes insecurity and unwise decisions.

Lessons Learned

What I am learning I think could be helpful to any Christian parent, not just homeschoolers.

Adult Children and Their Freewill
When our children are of age to choose, if they choose to live in the world or even to try out living in the world, they will not find it easy. They will feel sorely prepared for being a worldly adult, surrounded by non-Christians, who live in a completely different worldview. They will be influenced with worldly ways and opinions. They can be swayed and convinced that much of the way we raised them was wrong, by people with a non-Christian worldview. We must accept this as a possibility.
No matter how much we prepare our children by teaching them the ways of the world in comparison to God's ways, they will not be equipped to fully function as a non-Christian for we did not teach them how to live that way.
If they choose worldly values and worldviews, they will have many hard life lessons that we can not save them from, but we must simply allow them to experience. As their parents we can love them unconditionally and as much as they allow we can still impart our wisdom, but their freewill will ultimately allow them to choose which way they will live.

As my own children are coming of age to make their own decisions, I watch and love and pray. If they choose to not live among Christians, they will struggle to find friends unless they make worldly choices. They will be made fun of, picked on, ridiculed for being obedient to God. They will not find a mate that is respectful of a godly upbringing nor one who desires a relationship based on godly principles. All of their upbringing will seem foreign, ancient, over-protective and to some extent controlling.

Our Response in the Midst of Rebellion/Waywardness

Still, we parents must know that we ourselves obeyed HIM and continue to walk steadfast. Each individual and then family must choose whom they will obey and live for, no one else can make that decision for another. And each will be judged by God for the choice that was made. Our fruit and kingdom work will testify to our choice. Either it is for God or for Satan.

Joshua 24: 14-15 (partial)

Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth... Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers serves that were ... in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Is Your Walk a Long and Winding Road or a Maze to Navigate Through?

I am very grateful to introduce a wonderful author to my blog readers. Jenni Leighton has a gift for sharing her experiences and knowledge in words that provide us with thoughts to ponder and hopefully that will cause us to consider life from a new perspective. I know you will enjoy her first guest blog post.

A Long Country Lane - (Still out on the lanes II by jchanders DeviantArt)

I would like to think that the journey of my life is like a long country lane, a few bends in the road and it may be a bit bumpy at times, but for the most part it’s a pleasant and peaceful journey, one that will hopefully last a lot longer. However, there have been times when it has felt like more of a maze to navigate through. Lots of dead ends and back tracking, with a never ending set of twists and turns, and just when you think you have reached the end, you find that you are in fact just as far away. Fortunately for me, these periods, although they may have seemed long at the time, were actually reasonably brief in duration, and the calm county lane once again was there for me to traverse through. Had it not been, I am not sure how long I could have carried on without being deeply affected by the difficulties that ‘the maze’ can cause.
What can make you feel like you’re in ‘the maze’? 
Many of us face hardships, some sooner than others, but at some point in our lives we can be faced with traumas such as bereavement, divorce, financial troubles, illness or disabilities, bullying and victimization, or any other type of problem where you feel a loss of control. Sometimes the problems come thick and fast and you can feel penned in on all sides with issues and problems. Many people try and deal with problems on their own, and without a support system in place many of those people can make their problems worse by resorting to drink and drugs as a way of coping. This can lead to their lives spiralling even further out of control. Some people have to hit rock bottom before they can start to see the road ahead of them again. Frequently, there is help for people who realize they need support. For those who feel unable to turn to friends, family, or their church, there are organizations such as Samaritans USA, who will listen without judgement and anonymity and confidentiality is assured. 
What can you do to help yourself through ‘the maze’? 
When I found myself in ‘the maze’ was the 18 months where I lost my Mother and another close family member to cancer. Suffering such loss and the feelings of helplessness, anger and depression I experienced over this period, made doing even the simplest of tasks nearly impossible at times. I was blessed to have the support of the remaining members of my family, and even further blessed that I met my soulmate shortly after this period. With his love and support, I came through this difficult period and was able to find my way back out of the maze again.   
Had I not had this help, I am not sure how things would have turned out.  Some people turn to their faith in times of trouble. There is a strong inner peace and comfort that can be felt from turning to both your own inner faith and that of the members of your church and its leaders. There is no shame in admitting that you are struggling and that you need some help; in fact, it takes a stronger person to admit that you have a problem and to be willing to face the challenge of making some changes, or perhaps to face feelings and emotions that you have been bottling up inside for too long.  
Once the hard work is over 
For me, the hardest part of being out of the maze, is the thought that at some point I could find myself back there. Once you have experienced such a loss of control, through nothing that you have done wrong, it is hard sometimes not to live in fear of it reoccurring. Living with the fear, and not letting it overwhelm you is the key to accepting what has happened but not letting it define the journey of your life once that time has passed. 
In truth the hard work never is over completely, because life is hard sometimes, but it is also a blessing and not one to be taken for granted. Live your life well, live it with your whole heart, love, forgive, and be true to yourself and your journey will be the time of your life.
BY:  Jenni Leighton
Reference as accessed on 21st May 2014, coping with the loss of a loved one, coping with grief and loss
luxuryrehabs - women drug and alcohol rehab, self help books for women, contact page, symptoms of depression and anxiety