Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why Raising The Next Generation Is Exceptional

An Open Letter to Amy Glass.

  1. 1.
    unusual; not typical.
    "crimes of exceptional callousness and cruelty"
    synonyms:unusualuncommonabnormalatypicalextraordinary, out of the ordinary,rareunprecedentedunexpectedsurprisingMore

In a day and age when young women are pushed to do anything but stay at home and raise a family- I feel like we are exceptional!  Families that have a mom at home all the time to take care of her children are rare.  We make sacrifices.  We make it a priority to be the primary influence in our children's lives, and take seriously the mindset of raising the next generation of young people.

I take exception to a statement I read today in an article by Amy Glass-  "You will never have the "time, energy, freedom, or mobility to be exceptional because you have a husband and kids."   I find that statement rather provocative, which I think was her intent.  I believe her goal was to provoke those of us that do "just stay at home" and "be average."  By provoking us, there is a hope in making us envious of the life in which she chases.  It's sad really- because there is a magic that comes from ordinary. We cherish ordinary.   But our ordinary and average is drastically different than the ordinary of most children these days.  

Amy, I have to say- yes doing laundry is every bit as important as being an engineer or a doctor- by doing laundry I am telling my family, every day, that I love them.  Love is so important.  I am showing them by doing laundry, it's okay to serve someone other than themselves.  Maybe if you took a moment to think about either a) the mom in your life that did those things because she loved you and wanted you to be the very best version of yourself you could be or (b) the mother you always desired to do those things for you (I don't know your growing up years, so I can't speak to why you seem to hate women who stay at home) and to love you.  

Raising the next generation to be something more than a selfish, self serving generation IS the exception, not the rule.  Look around you Amy.  There are more of those than there are of us stay at home "average" people.  It is okay to serve other people.  I didn't have children because I was lonely- I have a family to show Christ's love through our family.  As you so eloquently put it- you are making the life you want and not filling it up with kids to love you so you don't have to feel alone.  I pity people that feel that way- truly.  Children aren't here to make us happy- they are here to be raised to be amazing human beings that do great and amazing things.  To carry on traditions, and talk about strapping rockets to houses and launching them into space.  They bring joy, peace, chaos and excitement to life.  They give us a chance to make the world a better place in the next generation.  They give us a chance to change the world.  For The Better.  

My children give us a chance to share the gospel with the world, from our little corner of America.  They will go out to share the gospel with others one day.  They will (hopefully) show Christ's love every day with their every day "ordinary" actions.  They will be the exception, and in turn, will be exceptional.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Facebook- The Good, The Bad, && The Ugly

Ahhh Facebook.  I have a love/hate relationship with you. You are amazing in helping me keep up with my family and friends that are not close to me physically. You allow me to share our lives with the very same family so they can see our kids grow and what they accomplish. You give me a platform to share the gospel and the light with the world.

I love that on Facebook, I can follow great pages about The Lord, and family, and education, and news. I love that people share great recipes and I can try new foods.

What I Don't Love...

Is that we tend glorify ourselves on Facebook. Look at me, Look at me, look what my family can/is doing, etc. I don't think any of us do it on purpose, because we love our families, and we have a sense of pride in them for what they are accomplishing-, but it can come across as unhealthily prideful!  (Proverbs 16:5, Proverbs 16:18, Romans 12:16)

It can make others less than content with where God has them currently. If Susie Q has it so good, why can't I? What is wrong with me Lord? Why can't I have that success, or that kind of kid- or that kind of clean living room? What do I not have , that they do? Why aren't you blessing me like you are blessing that person? Instead of being content with where God has you, you can easily become ungrateful to God for the blessings you do have in the envy you have for someone else, and their circumstances. (Philippians 4:11-12, Psalms 23:1, Proverbs 28:25) 

It gives us a platform to say things we would never have the audacity to say to someones face. The anonymity of the internet appears to give people the guts to say what ever about whomever they choose. People-public figures, elected officials, etc- are people. They deserve to be treated as such, in my humble opinion. (Titus 3:1-3, Psalms 34:13).

For lack of a better way to say it- it gives people the opportunity to be the version of themselves that they really wish they were-but aren't. Essentially- I stay frustrated with people who want others to believe they are a certain type of person, but in reality they are completely different. I wish people would be real. Good, Bad, Indifferent-Be Real. I am perfectly okay with living in ignorant bliss, and not knowing who people really are sometimes.  The reality is, that is between that person and the Lord.  It's not mine to know. (Romans 12:2)

In being real, however, leave your drama at home. I think back to the old saying about airing dirty laundry. Some things, the world doesn't need to know. The world shouldn't know. Some things should be between you and The Lord. Some things should be between you and your spouse. They don't need to be a permanent part of the internet, to then be speculated about and then discussed. Because you know what? Then you potentially become a stumbling block to someone else. (James 4:8, Romans 12:18  Proverbs 4:23)

Not that I need any help, but at times when I scroll through my facebook feed- I see something that peaks my curiosity (aka my nosiness), and before I know it I have looked at someone's post, the comments, and then gone on a personal quest to "investigate" the source of the problem, and why? More than likely, in my flesh, I want to be able to gossip about it (gasp!). Women (and men too, no doubt!) need no help in this area. We are dying to talk about it, get in touch with our inner emotions about it. Come to some understanding about it. It's a part of our (my) sin nature. So, when I post on facebook, it's (in my opinion) my duty to only post things that do not create a stumbling block for another.

So, this is just a few of the things I have either allowed myself to or seen get out of hand. The Lord smote my heart the weekend before Christmas about something.

Matthew 12:36-37

Yes friends, we do. All that wasted time on Facebook, looking at things I shouldn't, not that they are "biblically bad" but none of my business nonetheless. All those posts with empty nothingness, no substance or direction toward the light and saviour. What I wasted that I should have, and could have, given to God, but chose to waste it on the idleness of this world.

Talk about God stepping on my toes for awhile. First I thought about deleting facebook entirely. I prayed about that, and eventually came back to the originally why I came to know Facebook-family. Family will always be on my facebook, but the rest are at the discretion of God's leading. Not my flesh, not my choosing, but what God convicts me about that I read.

So here is how Facebook is going to change in the coming months-

1-There will be no senseless posts. If there is no news to report, there will be no posts.
2-I will not grumble and complain on Facebook, period.
3-I will not continually read and be nosy about issues that are posted on Facebook- It's not healthy, and only fosters in me a spirit that is not usable for God.
4-I will be limiting the time I am on Facebook. There is a bigger and brighter life out there beyond my phone and Facebook- It's time to live it.
5-I will (with God's leading, I pray) learn to be content with the life God has for me, and how I can be a blessing to someone else- in the here and now. Not the future, NOW. God wants to use us NOW.
6-If The Lord tells me that I shouldn't be looking at things on Facebook, I will be eliminating it. Period.

This was God's wake up call to me- and how I personally use my time, and what I see. I am by no means telling you this is what you need to do. That is your conviction from God. But I have to do what God tells me, because I want to stay in the closest fellowship with Him, and I want to grow more in Him this year than ever.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

I felt so blessed to be in God's house praying in the New Year at midnight.  As a family we have done this for several years, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Last year, I chose to participate in a One Word 365 challenge, where you pray about what God would have you focus on this year for your family.  I chose the actual word Focus.  It was a goal to focus more on home and family, but most of all God.

I can't say that I excelled in that area, quite honestly.  There were times when my walk strayed, and while I focused on things, I didn't have my main focus in view- The Lord.  Lucky for me, I serve a great God who forgives, and as my husband preached last night- God is still concerned with my fragments.  And I am so glad.

So, I decided to give the One Word 365 challenge another go- drum roll please........

This year, we are striving for all things peaceful.  I have really taken stock of how chaotic and dramatic life has become, and I know that God is not the author of chaos (1 Corinthians 14:33)  I know that striving with man is also not what the Lord desires for me (Galatians 1:10) because we are to be in the world but not of the world (Romans 12:2).  I am standing on God's promises of love- and joy (thank you Br. Brian for that message last night, too!), and the knowledge that my happiness is circumstantial, but my JOY is eternal.  Thank You Jesus!  

I am so grateful today.  I woke up with Jesus in my heart (and a five year old cuddled up against my back, lol) and an understanding of what I believe he has called for me this year.  

This is the year I choose peace, joy, love, obedience, inspiration, and to do my very best to choose God's will in my life, even when it doesn't seem to make sense to any one else, because it's not about everyone else, it's about what God says in my life.  

It's your decision.  You can choose to put the past behind you, and move forward in the Lord.  It will be brutal at times, because God will confront you with the truth, and then you will have to choose.  God will love you always-either way- but His ways are so much better than ours, I promise (II Samuel 22:31).