Tuesday, June 30, 2009
So these are the final self-study questions that accompany our sessions - you will see that I had to stop focusing the questions on just 'husband and wife' situations - some of our ladies are single or widowed, therefore their authority falls under their father or the pastor, respectively. Hopefully each of you that has followed the study has enjoyed the contemplative nature of these questions - and I do encourage you to find a copy of the book.
1. Our reason for studying God's word should be to seek His heart. Do I work toward being a woman after God's own heart?
2. When I disagree or dislike my authority/husband's decisions, do I graciously follow in the same way as I would when I agree?
3. When my house is lacking harmony, do I accept that I may be responsible? Am I guilty of causing the chaos?
4. Do I project a 'doormat' submission to those around me or do people see a working relationship between myself and my authority/husband?
5. Do I live what I preach? (i.e. do younger women see me as a positive Titus 2 role model)
6. Have I ever entered into gossiping with a girlfriend when talking about our authority/husbands? Do I seek to build up my authority/husband?
7. When I believe my authority/husband is sinning, do I trust that God will deal with him or do I 'help' God by trying to change him my way?
8. Do I believe God's authority structure is the best way in all situations?
9. If I made a list of things in my life that honour God and a list of things that dishonour Him, which list would be longer?
10. How often do I allow my emotions to lead my behaviour rather than the word of God?
11. After completing this study, do I believe God would have me initiate relationships with other women in order to live out Titus 2:3-5? Am I going to do it?
Sunday, June 28, 2009
People. I have little-to-no optimism when it comes to people (outside of my husband and Duck, of course).
This pessimism has originated from my non-christian years. Too many times in my early life I was disappointed by those who should have been my security net. Back then in my immaturity I simply said 'people stink' as a summary to my opinion. Actually, now that I see the world in two categories - saved and not saved. I can understand those that can be dissappointing when they are not saved - like they have an excuse for living selfishly.
However, living among christians, my distrust of people who claim to be saved hasn't really changed. In alot of ways it has sprouted. Although I don't often summarize my feelings the same crass way, all my 'spidey senses' go off as soon as someone new tells me they are christian. I simply sit back and think 'we'll see, won't we. Actions speak louder than words'.
Too many times I have watched the same scenario play out just in our little corner of the church. People join in and jump on board with enthusiasm;
homeschooling? great idea!
courtship? great idea!
trusting God's plan for finances? great idea! - the list of lifestyle issues goes on.
It never fails to make my pessimistic smile sneak across my face when these long-time christian people say, "oh, I wish I had found these scriptures before!" Hmmm...were these scriptures hiding? (As you can see, pessimism and sarcasm go hand in hand for me)
These people certainly can be part of our church family for extended amounts of time - years, even decades. We have had people who regularly participated in church, gushing with pride over their 'convictions', and then the time comes when they get insulted, upset or too tired to keep up the facade (oddly, it seems to occur when children reach the teen years). These same 'christians' point to the very reasons they wanted to be part of our church as their reasons for disagreement;
homeschooling? it's too demanding
courtship? unreasonable for today's youth
trusting God's financial plan? too difficult to keep tithing; etc.
However, don't dare remind them of the very scripture that originally enlightened them! That will ensure animosity and that will make you their 'reason' for leaving. Those who live successfully (by the grace of God) with biblical conviction will be accused of being elitist or self-righteous - and the bitterness builds where friendship once was found. Even King David was familiar with these type of people:
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Some comments made me smile, others made wince. Take a look for yourself.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
This past weekend my dad and his wife were visiting our home. He is the only member of my extended family that still associates with us. The remainder of my vast family has left us in the cold since we were labelled as 'religious nuts' and 'cult members' by one of the matriarchs of the group - my mother. You see, my mother has a way of encouraging others to avoid disagreeing with her and any opposing opinions are to be kept silent. At the time we were accused of such labels, my dad was the only one who came to investigate the accusations and in doing so, came to the conclusion that we're are a normal healthy family even if we are 'doing the church thing'. He, of course, had been burned by the same manipulator before, having been through a divorce.
But this is supposed to be about my dad.
He is not a christian, and his life revolves around worldly pleasures and work (the work is just to pay for the pleasure). He eats too much, drinks too much and only gets exercise when the remote control isn't working. As his granddaughter gets older, he is having a harder time relating to her christian upbringing, but they have running jokes and teasing between them.
While they were here for the visit, Duck asked them to come to church. She always does and she doesn't simply accept their excuses - 'it's a long drive home', 'no church clothes', etc. Duck smiles and answers them simply, 'church is done by noon', 'any clothes are fine', etc.
My husband and I don't tell Duck that she can't ask these questions, and Grampa and Gramma never tell her the flat out truth. Church is meaningless to them, maybe even a little scary, too.
So Sunday morning came and they know we are going to church. They know they are welcome. We know it is unlikely they will come. And, sure enough, they are up early and packed to go home. We say our goodbyes in the driveway and they go one direction as we go the other.
Now, God always gives us examples and role models to look at and learn from. Good and bad examples and role models. My husband and I take the time this weekend to show Duck someone who loves her as best as he can - without Christ. We talk about the time we have to live for Christ in from of those who live without him. Most of all, we always remind her (and ourselves) how important this verse is to remember:
My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. Psalm 62:5
I have never doubted that my dad loves me as best as he can, as a dad who lives without Christ. And now I show Duck the same thing to see in her grampa. So, in return, we love him as he is and without expectations, but not without hope, that he will ever see the truth in Christ. That falls under God's soveriegnty, only He can change my dad.
So for now, we plan our next visit - without expectation.
Monday, June 22, 2009
If only I had paid more attention to my health when I was younger, I wouldn't be carrying 40lbs more than I should be;
If only I had learned about money management 20 years ago, I wouldn't be digging my way out of debt at middle age;
If only I had been raised in a Christian home, I wouldn't spend so much time re-training my feminist, selfish upbringing;
If only I had married at a younger age, the mystery of why my body will not produce more children would never have been an issue;
If only my husband and I had taken advantage of the years of good, double incomes, we would have our own home by now;
If only my mother had been a Christian woman, I could have sought out the means to a home business long ago;
If only I didn't have to work part time outside the home, I could spend more viable time raising my daughter in the view of Proverbs 31;
If only I spent more time concentrating on verses like this -
And we know that all things works together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The happy dance is something that happens in our home throughout the school year. It originated quite spontaneously when my little girl, Duck, was in grade one. The happy dance is executed on occasions wherein we, the Duck and I, complete a large unit or project.
It is a silly little tradition that the Duck never fails to remind me to complete. Just today we finished the 4th unit of her reading comprehension, leaving only one more unit to complete for grade 3, and we promptly stood in the middle of the living room and did our thing. A crazy, but happy dance. A celebration of accomplishment! A moment to appreciate the privileges in homeschooling and a moment to build a silly little tradition that the Duck loves.
There may come a time in her life when the happy dance is just a memory and she's 'too mature' to do it anymore. I hope that time is a long way off because I also love to jump up and celebrate with a little jig.
The dog, however, thinks we're nuts.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I revel in this time. That may seem to be an exaggeration, but it's not. My only difficulty is deciding which 'me' thing to do; knitting; or sewing; or reading; or blogging; or a little of each. Sometimes I even choose to clean the kitchen, as crazy as that is.
Please don't misunderstand, I love my husband and daughter. I love when I hear my husband coming in the door after being at work. I love working with my daughter all day with school or fun projects. I even enjoy the housekeeping aspect of my life (I can't honestly say I love that part, but 'enjoy' is truthful). But when this weekly time alone happens, I accomplish so much in just a short time. It is a time that I use to refresh myself for my family.
The most important part about it is to remember to use my time wisely and for good purpose. I have on occasion frittered the time away with TV (also affectionately known as the idiot box) and I do not feel refreshed with that, I feel slothful. As always, I return to my favourite verse listed with the title of my blog,
1 Corinthians 10:31 - do ALL to the glory of God, including the use of my free time.
So, now that I have blogged...what will I do next?
Friday, June 12, 2009
There are two women, seniors, at work who are similar in age and are both dealing with similar disease processes - that of respiratory deterioration. One of these women is still mobile in a wheelchair, the other is bedridden due to other maladies. They struggle for air and therefore, they both have a certain amount of confusion with the decrease in oxygen.
The bedridden lady works hard to accomplish everyday tasks, sometimes succeeding and sometimes not. She has a doting son and daughter-in-law who visit daily to read to her, decorate her room, do her nails or sometimes just to kiss her goodnight. This lady experiences alot of discomfort when moving around, but never fails to thank her caregivers after each time her care is completed.
The woman in the wheelchair spends most of her days and nights yelling (yelling!) and complaining. She complains that she doesn't get enough help, but complains about the help she does get. During the night, she screams because she doesn't want to be alone, but when staff do attend to her room she screams at them. She never had children, so her neices and nephews are assigned as her next of kin - I have never seen any of them come to visit.
There is one more similarity to mention. They both claim the title 'christian'.
Now, it isn't my place to say I know the heart of these women. Obviously the fruit of the Spirit can be seen much greater in the first lady, but it would be too bold to state that the second isn't actually saved. So, taking it as a given that they are both indeed saved...what is the difference?
Can a born-again Christian, saved by grace, fall away from faith to the point that their salvation is unrecognizable? Can a heart with Christ indwelling be overwhelmed by a tormented mind? I believe the answer is yes.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
But sticking with dealing with our children's' behaviour, there is great parenting advice throughout scripture. There is one section that Duck and I have been reading and talking about that has meant alot to both of us, 1 Thessolonians 5:14-24:
Monday, June 8, 2009
All church goers were encouraged to organize group lunches at this local restaurant. When the lunch was completed, the restaurant would calculate the bill for all church goers meals and then write and deliver a cheque for 10% of the amount of the lunch and donate that back to the individual churches.
So, the more people that attended from a single church, the more money that would be donated back to the church. Sounds great - accept that the deal was only for Sunday lunches. I know that in today's culture, the whole idea of keeping the Lord's Day holy has fallen into the 'antiquated' realm. The restaurants in our town are packed after morning services. Shopping on Sunday is 'normal' - but then again so are STDs and I'm not interested in taking part of them either!
For our family, keeping the Lord's Day holy includes not working on that day AND not causing someone else to work that day either. We attend church both in the morning and evening. It means we do not shop for anything - a standard which requires only a small bit of planning and organizing on Saturday to ensure that we can maintain it. Outside of unforseen emergencies, we feel convicted by the commandment.
This however, is not the cultural thing to do, even among christian groups. Which is why I have no doubt that the local restaurant will make out quite well with its plan. Church groups will flock to lunch all for the purposes of 'supporting our church financially'.
Hmmm...maybe a post on tithing would be good to do. Another day, though...Good Monday morning to you all!
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
This is on my mind alot lately as I am attempting to retrain my thinking about food. I like food. I'm a good eater - too good. Because of my eating habits for the last 20 years I am fighting my weight. Gluttony is an ugly word and even uglier in the mirror.
So what's a girl (an almost 40 year old girl) to do? There are innumerable diet plans to sign up to follow. In fact, I have been watching a good friend go through with one particular plan - she has to pay to weigh in weekly, she can't eat a 'normal' diet therefore has to have vitamin shots three times per week, and take several multi-vitamins, calcium, iron, and so on. She is losing weight significantly - 80 lbs. in 7 months. The successful loss of weight makes these diet plans look so enticing. However, I have never been someone to jump on any bandwagon. Let me share my process for examining this issue: