Posts Tagged ‘children

01
Mar
14

Eve Taught Me All I Need to Know

Eve, the mother of all mankind, had a huge responsibility and weight upon her shoulders as the first woman, wife and mother. Eve didn’t  get a choice to accept or decline that role; God Himself chose her. God created her from Adam’s rib, put her in the Garden of Eden with Adam, and the rest is history. Or is it?

We give Eve a hard time; we accuse her of blowing it for all of us. I have often thought that if I had been there in place of her that I would not have been deceived, that I would have done things much differently. But even in my few moments of pride in thinking that way, I know I would have done the same thing. I would have grasped for what I was not supposed to have. I would have risked my relationship with God to have my own way. Just like Eve, I would not have been satisfied with the life I’d been given.

The serpent deceived Eve. And when Eve chose to believe the serpent’s lies over God’s truth, she doubted God’s goodness.  And Eve’s sin was not only disobedience to God but also wanting to live a life independent from God, wanting to be her own god, wanting to know more than she needed to know, thinking that God was holding out on her.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul uses Eve’s deception as a warning for the people of Corinth to not be led away from their devotion to Christ. Poor Eve. Paul uses her as a “what not to do” person. But the point of all this: Eve sinning, being blamed by her husband and by every woman in the world for our plight, is that I finally realized it was not the end of the story for Eve. It never is. There is always hope. Always redemption.

There were certainly consequences for Adam and Eve’s sin. God booted them out of the perfect garden; and for women, there is pain in childbirth and a neediness that make some of us women want to cling to our husbands instead of God. But God didn’t boot Adam and Eve out with their leaves trailing behind them. He didn’t let them go off into a wilderness without properly clothing them first. His provision for them showed that He still loved them and would continue to take care of them. They were His children, and I believe Eve saw God’s tender care of her and responded to her Abba Father’s love. Love, not fear.

After the garden, Eve only spoke twice more in the Bible. When Eve had Cain, her firstborn son, she said, “I have had a male child with the Lord’s help.” With the Lord’s help…this seems small and insignificant, but for the first time, it stood out powerfully to me. Because after everything was said and done, Eve acknowledged her dependence on God.

And, if I didn’t see it the first time, God once again opened my eyes to His love of Eve and her dependence on Him when she had her third son Seth, the one born to her after Cain killed Abel. In her final words, Eve said, “God has given me another child in place of Abel.” God has given me..has graced me with…

Eve got it. She was not lost; she was not without hope. She saw God’s goodness, His grace, and she acknowledged His good gifts. And we are not without hope, no matter how badly we have blown it in the past. There is always redemption, always God’s goodness, always God’s amazing grace.

“Tune my heart to sing Thy grace…” I often sing this song to myself, reminding me that I cannot even tune my own heart to sing God’s grace…He has to tune it for me. His grace is not something that I can conjure up…not something I can make appear in my own life. It just is, and I can receive it with open hands and an open heart, or I can shut down and choose to reject it. Eve accepted it. God tuned Eve’s heart to sing His grace.

I’m sure Eve felt very deeply for what she had lost, not just in terms of things and perfection but also in the relationship with God that was different. But I believe she grew in amazing ways because of the trial and suffering she brought upon herself. I sometimes find myself repeating the first part of Eve’s story daily in wanting my own way and grasping for what I think will make me happy, but thank goodness, Eve’s story didn’t end there. And mine doesn’t either. The first part helps bring me to my knees in realizing  that I cannot do this life without God. He has to be the center. I see this in Eve, in her acceptance and acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty and goodness in her life.

So thank you, Eve, for doing the thankless job of being the first one, and thank you for representing us all, showing us that we are all frail and easily deceived. But thank you, most of all, for acknowledging your dependence on a good God and seeing His good gifts, even in the midst of terrible struggles. We see your example of hope, and we see God’s graciousness in providing for all of His children. So, thanks, for pointing us to Him.

16
Mar
13

Not the Path I Would Have Chosen

When Jeff and I moved to Nashville almost six years ago, we came here to help a struggling school. When that school closed down four years ago, we had no idea what to do with our five children (ages 4-12 at the time) who attended that school. It was sad to see so many families struggle with where they would send their kids to school, as well.

Feeling like we had no other options, we went ahead and homeschooled. We had homeschooled several years earlier when our older boys were younger, so I knew we could do it, but I didn’t really want to, to be perfectly honest.

After the school closed down, my plan was to home school our kids for a couple of years and then find a  private school our kids could attend. So, for me, homeschooling was a very temporary thing, to say the least. I love my kids, but I didn’t want to hang with them every day, all day long.

We survived homeschooling for two years, and then that next summer I begged God to release me from homeschooling my kids. I was done. When I realized He was not answering my prayers for release, I realized I might be in this for the long haul, and instead of fighting it, I chose to embrace it.

I had a decent relationship with my kids. I was physically present and took care of them, but I struggled with being emotionally present a good deal of the time. For years, I struggled with emotional affairs, always looking for greener grass elsewhere and not satisfied with God or what He had given me.

But a few years ago, God really began doing His healing work in me, and I began to have victory in an area that I thought I would struggle with for the rest of my life. As a result of His healing, I now had the time and the emotional energy to invest in my kids and began being in real relationship with them, not just passing them in the hall or cleaning up after them or even teaching them school.

We began talking and haven’t stopped yet…real conversations about God, about the stuff that they feel and what they’re going through on a daily basis. We laugh; we joke; we play games; we talk. Jeff and I love sitting in our dining room in front of the fire talking and hanging out with our kids. It is truly one of the best parts of my life.

I’m not a creative home school mom who comes up with fun activities for my kids to do, and my kids would probably say homeschooling is pretty boring for the most part. But what I’ve found in being around my kids all day long and them being around each other is that I would not exchange the relationships I now have with them and the ones they have with each other for anything in the world. It’s a gift from God. And I am just so incredibly grateful.

I would not have chosen this path for myself, but I’m thankful for my loving Abba who chose it for me and gently pushed me down it. He really does know what best for me, for all of us.

And those years the locusts ate…they’ve been reclaimed and restored many times more than I could possibly have imagined.

I will lead the blind by a way they did not know;
I will guide them on paths they have not known.
I will turn darkness to light in front of them
and rough places into level ground. (Isaiah 42)

17
Jan
13

the heart of the matter

My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord…For the Lord disciplines the one he loves…

Hebrews 12 goes on to say that a parent who loves his child disciplines them, just like God disciplines us. It’s a painful process, but it is designed to teach us submission to Him in all things. When we let go of the control that we think we have and submit to the things He’s called us to then that’s when we find life, real life. He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share his holiness.

Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

I’ve noticed something in myself recently. When I’m willing to submit to God in humility, then I’m much more willing to submit to those around me in service and love and learn the things God’s trying to teach me. There’s something in us that wants to be in control of our lives, to not be told what to do, to not submit to anyone, even God.

When it comes to parenting my children, I want everyone to be in harmony and get along and just do what they’re supposed to do. I love my kids; they know that, and I want them to do what I’ve asked them to do out of love and respect, and not out of fear. I think God wants us to obey Him because we love Him and not because we’re fearful that there might be consequences when we don’t obey.

But I’m not God, and in being pretty laid back in this area and just wanting everyone to get along, I have failed to discipline as I should have at times. And as a result, one of my kids gets really angry when told to do stuff she doesn’t like or doesn’t want to do, especially her school work. And to maintain peace, I have let things slide. I haven’t dealt with her lack of obedience as I should have. And of course, her anger usually takes over because clear boundaries have not been set, and because I’ve sometimes responded to her anger and lack of obedience with anger myself.

But the biggest wake-up call for me the other day was when it occurred to me that if this child is not willing to submit to my authority, then she won’t submit to God’s authority later. She won’t one day magically wake up and submit to Him. It starts now. I had to repent and apologize to her for my lack of obedience to God in this. Because the biggest mission of my life and my greatest calling is that my children walk in truth and for them to do what God calls them to do in submitting their lives to Him.

There’s a documentary/movie called Buck. Buck is the ultimate horse whisperer, and he has an incredible story. That man can do amazing things with horses.  He says he doesn’t help people with horse problems. He helps horses with people problems. Horses are a reflection of their masters. They just do what they’ve seen done. Same as kids. My kids aren’t me, but they are definitely a reflection. If I’m an angry and unforgiving or manipulative person, my kids will more than likely reflect my behavior as well.

In the movie, Buck shows that if you jerk the reins of a horse, the horse will automatically jerk its head back in response. If we lash out in anger toward those around us trying to get them to do what we want them to do, chances are the anger will be reciprocated, and fear not love will be the result. But if you hold the reins firmly, the horse will come around and eventually do what you want it to do in submission. I’m in the process of learning to hold the reins firmly but also gently.

Because, really,  the point is not behavior modification. The point is my children’s hearts. Who cares if I can make my children do what I want them to do by behaving perfectly in front of the world or even in my home, but yet have failed to address their heart issues of sin and lack of repentance? Unless there is brokenness in my life, brokenness in their lives, we will never yield to God’s authority and discipline. Discipline is a good thing. It doesn’t really seem like it at the time, but God claims us as sons and daughters if we’re willing to submit to it. He actually loves those He disciplines, and the fruit of it becomes rather obvious, especially in teenagers and children.

Discipline from God produces the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who are willing to be trained by it. (Hebrews 12)


21
Mar
12

Lent In My Belly Button

Recently, Jeff and I decided that our kids would give up all games, computer and video for Lent. We decided this for our kids, spouting the usual spiritual application that giving up stuff for Lent is good because we’re looking forward to Easter with Christ’s death and resurrection, and it helps us remember to anticipate this when we give up something really hard.

But, really, I think we were trying to stop the craziness of gaming that had kind of taken over, and this was just a good excuse to do it without having to pull the “I’m the parent, get off the computer” card. Plus, it also made it “spiritual.”

Since Jeff and I don’t have a problem with computer games, we had to come up with stuff to deny ourselves as well. Jeff gave up looking at trivia on his phone and the computer.  He is a trivia fanatic, constantly in search of information and news flashes. He loves the Drudge Report and knows crazy minutia. So this was hard for him.

Personally, I would rather bury my head in the sand than put anything else in my brain. It rattles around enough without throwing completely worthless stuff in there, to boot. So, my Lent give-up was the weather channel. And I’m not talking about the cool weather channel on cable. I’m talking about the ghetto weather channel that you get when you don’t have cable. Regardless, I turn it on all the time to check to see what I should wear and when I can hang laundry outside and just out of curiosity because I have to know, and I can’t just stick my head out the door.

The Lent “rules” say that you can take Sundays off (or so I’m told; I’m sure this was some bit of information that Jeff told me).  So my kids, well, they go a little nuts with the games that day. And Jeff, I’m sure he’s cramming all the information in that he missed over the past week. I, too, take full advantage and try to memorize the temperatures for the upcoming week. But it doesn’t seem to stick, so Julia wrote down the weather for me for last week, including the temperature for each day, complete with drawings of rain clouds and suns. Somehow, I think we’ve all missed the point.

A couple weeks ago, Julia and I went on a girls’ trip, just her and me, for one night at a state park complete with chilly indoor pool. We had so much fun. But I needed to know if I was going to have to drive home in the rain, so I wanted to check the weather. But, it wasn’t Sunday. I told her I was just going to check the weather real quick when Julia said, “I won’t tell anyone.” But then added, “But God will know.”

Geez. I don’t think it was supposed to be like that. Some where along the way, it took on a pharasaical bent. If keeping Lent just means not breaking another rule, then really what’s the point?

So, we’ve kind of let it go. It seemed to have taken on a life of its own and in the process lost its real significance.

Yep, next year they can choose to do their own Lent or not do it. Lesson learned.




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