Thursday, August 30, 2012

A T.V. Host vs. The Great Scientist

If you've read the latest, Bill Nye the Science Guy has claimed that parents who teach Creationism are harming their children. He's a “believer” in Evolution.

It is only disturbing to me because he is attacking my belief and accusing that I am harming my children by instilling that belief. Seriously? When there are terrorists out there training small children to kill the Western enemy? My “old-fashioned” belief is harmful?

Sure, an Evolutionist might thing I am delusional, or maybe narrow-minded (although, I beg to argue the same toward the Evolutionist who denies the obvious facts of read material that points to some of these facts, see the link below to The Creation Hypothesis), but to bring in the well-being of my children is NOT his place.

I just finished up a Bible study, and in 2Timothy chapter 3, it states:

3 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Wow! Does that resonate with anyone? Yes, this was written thousands of years ago...but doesn't it sound familiar? But for this topic, the part that sticks out the most to me, is what I highlighted:

Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

No matter how much a man learns, how much he dedicates himself to his field, he may never come to knowledge. He may never arrive at Truth if he denies the Holy God who gave him the brain to reason. Yes, as a hardcore Creationist, I believe God created everything...even the brain that can't fathom a Creator breathing life in all we see.

 Bill Nye says: ""You can believe what you want religiously. Religion is one thing, but science, provable science is something else. "***

And this is where he lost all credibility with me. He doesn't get it. He doesn't understand that religion is not just about going to church on Sunday. It's not about believing God exists. It's believing that everything is BECAUSE of God. We exist only because of God. To separate religion and science is impossible---God made science.
 Ooh, I wonder who's squirming now? ;)
The Creator didn't tempt man to unbelief by allowing him scientific skill. No, the Creator created him with this bent with the hope that he would use his talent to one day glorify God. Science is not a non-Christian belief, God is the most magnificent Scientist of all. But when science is given over as an idol, an ultimate truth without God, then men can learn all they want and never reach the truth.

What a shame.

If you want to learn more about Creationism as a Scientific reality, check out the book, Creation Hypothesis by Phillip E. Johnson

***Nye's quote found here:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Joy of A Gift

Usually we let the birthday boy/girl decide what's for dinner on that special day. And we all know who will ask for what:

10 year old- hamburgers
7 year old- tacos
5 year old- greek spaghetti
Dad- Texas Roadhouse
Mom and 1 year old- Just give us cake!

So, out of the blue yesterday morning, my oldest says, "I want hamburgers and french fries for dinner...and don't forget the ice cream." Usually, I have a meal plan that I stick to, but it just so happened that I dropped the ball this week and his little suggestion sounded perfect! It was like a birthday preparation for me...I was all giddy to fill his small request, and excited to serve dinner that night. Okay, so you're thinking "this lady needs a past-time", but really, although I love to cook, I have been burned many times by unhappy recipients...or many times my meals have burned (or flopped)...Suddenly last night, I had joy in this daily task of preparing food, because I knew it would bring joy to my child. He asked for something, and I willingly and joyfully gave it to him.

Just give me cake!
I just can't help relating this to God's joy in giving His children good things. All night, I thought about how the God of the universe wants to give us what we ask.

In Matthew 7:7 Christ says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives..."

And He continues in verse 11:   "So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him."

I don't think God just sits there, stoic and unemotional, and decides "this time I am going to say no". I think our Father in Heaven, sits on the edge of His throne, with His heart pounding in His chest, waiting for us to receive His blessing, and thinking "I can't wait to see her face when she receives all she asked for!"
Do you believe that? Do you know how much God loves you and wants to give you good things? I am sure that my son sometimes thinks, "Mom and Dad only want to say no, they don't want me to have anything I want, they ruin my fun". I know this, because I take this attitude with God sometimes too. "He doesn't want to answer that prayer, it's too frivolous," or "I don't deserve it."
Yet, it's clearly stated by His own son, that He does want to bless us!

My birthday celebration...ready for cake!
Christ himself said, "Ask and it will be given to you..." and later in the book of Matthew He says, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

 I got a glimpse of God's joy when I bestowed a small gift on my child who asked for it. Imagine the massive joy of God when you ask and receive? He wants to bless you and He wants to give you prosperity, hope, and a future!!  Do you believe that?

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Valentine's treat, heart pizza and sparkling grape juice

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Christian factions on Education

"Shame on you for not putting your kids in a private school. You are a Christian!"

"I know homeschooling is best, but I just can't...."

"If I had it to do over again, I'd do private school..."

"If I had it to do over again, I'd do homeschool..."

These are the things I have heard over the past few years. No joke. And now that I am venturing into the third option of education, having attempted the other two (private and homeschool), I have been pondering the whole debate once again.
It is easy to get defensive about your choice. Actually, it is ridiculous that we even have to defend our decision to others, but that's how motherhood has evolved...into one big debate over who parents better than who. Everything is sucked into this debate: breastfeeding vs. formula, crying it out vs. attachment parenting, pacifier vs. thumb, plastic bottles vs. glass, disposable vs. cloth. And isn't it true that whichever side you camp on, you secretly think you are either, the best, or settling?

Because I am an extremely competitive person, I am to blame for participating in the above arguments. I admit it! And because I have made the choice for public school this year, crossing over that "vs." and camping on a side I thought I'd never be, I have come to make sense of this whole debate.

Yesterday, I sat across from a home-school mom and sat next to two public school moms. All of them are very Godly women. Their hearts are centered on Christ, and their whole purpose in life is to build into their children so they become strong Christian men and women.

Because I am so black and white sometimes, and because I am the person who wants to be part of the best group, I struggled when one of the public school moms said, "I know that homeschooling is best, but I just can't get my act together."

Ouch! Thanks for that. Really, do I need to hear it two days before school starts? Especially when I am a new camper, unsure of what it all looks like? But then I looked to the other public school mom, and I thought of the wonderful things that have happened because of public school, because her kids are learning life lessons from the beginning, and how they THRIVE there.

It all hit me at once, an important lesson I learned in a Sociology 400 class in college (the first part below), and then of course, I gathered the last part from more Christian sources:

It's ALL about the parents [tuning in to God's calling.]

Yep. It's true. I am starting to believe that God equips each of us specifically for our children. And he also equips our children specifically for their path. When God calls a parent to educate their child one way, it's because he knows what is best for the outcome of that child.

Even if that path has bumps and detours along the way, if a parent prayerfully considers and finds peace in God's response for their children's education, then they shouldn't question their calling. God knows best!

I've decided that when I hear an older parent say, "I should have homeschooled," or "I wish I chose private school", they are thinking back on their own insecurities as a parent, and regretting time lost. It doesn't mean that they were called to do it differently, just means that they didn't do it the way they wanted and are blaming it on the type of education instead.
I also believe you can miss your calling. Perhaps someone is called to homeschool their children, but they let fear and selfishness get in the way. The regret they feel later in life might be valid.

But that doesn't mean their children are messed up for life! Only God can change hearts...not school, not parent's choices!

It is easy for Christians to get black and white about issues. And there are some issues that remain that way for a reason. But, as far as education goes, God didn't give us a straightforward manual. Actually, He has some examples for two types of schooling (thanks to one of my mentor moms for pointing out Moses!):

Private: Hannah gives Samuel to the priest, Eli, as soon as he is weaned, to learn God's way.
Secular: Moses' mother gives Moses to Pharaoh's family, to be raised in a non-Godly place, but with faith that God will keep him safe.
 And as for home-schooling, He has Scripture all over based on the parent's responsibility to instill His principles in His children.

The greatest thing for me to remember is that I am a unique child of God, and so are my children. If we didn't have a personal relationship with Him, then sure, He might cookie-cut our lives to play out exactly like expected. But He doesn't. He is more creative than that, and more caring. He wants each of us to follow our unique bent, just like in Proverbs 22:6 "Bring up a child in the way they shall go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Happy First Day of School to Everyone! Be confident in your choice!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An Intentional Atmosphere

With our new school plans (see post below), I have been deeply convicted and fired up to create an intentional atmosphere around here. The kids will be in school more than they will be home during waking hours, and now that they aren't getting spiritual enrichment at school, it is all up to....ME (and my husband of course!)
There are some key times around here that I want to fill my kids up with encouragement, inspiration, and just good old fashion love!

Sunday Night- We have actually done this inconsistently this past year, but my husband has crafted an awesome agenda and goal sheet for FAMILY MEETINGS. This will be a way to kick off the week with goals set, expectations discussed, and any worries or issues laid out in a safe place for everyone.

School Mornings- Something absolutely awesome about this new school, is we get an
extra hour in the morning to sleep, dress, and do whatever we like! I can't waste time sleeping, I hate sleeping anyway, so during our morning routine, we are going to have DEVOTIONAL. The cool thing is, I found an easy, quick devo among our many books that collect dust on our shelves. Yes, it's quick...but that's what we need to be consistent on the days we are lazy and the days we need to rush around.

School Drive- We have always used our drive to school as a time of PRAYER...even if it's just a thirty second one as we pull in the parking lot. This will not be set aside this year, and I hope that we can continue this all the way through to graduation. ;)

Dinner Time- We will also continue going through HI/LO's at the dinner table. This is so important to give the kids a chance to review their day and give Mom and Dad a peek at what they are excited about or struggling with.

Bedtime- This is another great time to talk with the boys about their day, and take PRAYER REQUESTS. For some reason, whether it's procrastination on their part, or the toll of sleepiness, they seem to open up about stuff as they are tucked in. My husband is going to hang out with the two younger boys and do this, and I am going to attempt to help my oldest establish a QUIET TIME with his later bedtime. I found another devo book that has never been opened, and the format will allow me to read Scripture and discuss, and then step away for him to do his own quiet time. I really pray this happens, it will be difficult because with him being 10 and the "Daddy's better than Mom" syndrome. He is all about Dad! But his brothers need Dad too!

Praying that this school year goes smooth AT school, and AT home. So much on the horizon!

Do you have any fun ideas to build into your kids? 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

10 Year Milestone For My Child and Me

Today, my baby boy is 10. I can not believe I have been a mother for 10 years. It feels like I have always been a mother, and if I didn't have that role, I'd be lost.
What did I do before children? How did I fill my days, besides work? How did I function on a full night's sleep ALL the time?
Life has definitely been full since that moment I laid eyes on my son and felt the tremendous gift of motherhood annoint my tired head.
Very few actual moments in my life are vivid in my memory. There are many time periods, many moments that really don't have much significance, but somehow pop out when I think of myself at that time. But one memory stands out the most. One memory is so crystal clear that I can almost feel the babe in my arms and the lump in my throat; the tired blur of my vision and the soft whisper of God.
"This child I give to you, protect him, and prepare him for the world." It was a humbling weight of responsibility. One of the few moments in my life where God's command was loud and clear. I could barely stand to let the moment last, it was so sacred and fragile. I called my husband shortly after that to let him know I was with our sweet son, and just how beautiful he was. I got the machine because he was sleeping off the full day and night of labor. But he didn't erase my message for a long time. And I can still hear my voice and the awe that filled it at the little bundle in my arms.

Now, my son is a confident (well, working on that), athletic, smart, gifted young almost-man. How quickly it all happens! Before you have a child, ten years old doesn't seem like much. But once you've changed diapers, taught abc's, cared for illness, dropped off to parent's day out with many sobs (on your part), and then watched them absorb information and skills like a flower on miracle gro x2, you realize how much life has occurred in ten years, and how full life can really be.

Since the day I felt my call to protect and prepare my son, I started saving money to send him to private school. I never had private school growing up, and I wanted to give my children the chance to learn about the world through a Godly perspective as soon as possible. I found that a good non-denominational private school worked alongside the parents by instilling a great education and a foundation for life. If you've read my blog before, you know I have struggled with this. I have checked my heart time and again, making sure I wasn't clinging to "the bubble", and I wasn't wearing blinders to all the problems that private school can have. God worked on my heart this past year, and I have felt even more confident in the reasons we sent our children to private school.
And as much as my confidence grew, our financial burden grew, and grew, and grew. Until finally, we had to sit down and face the financial fact that we were not only stifling ourselves materialistically (which is never a bad thing), but stifling ourselves from generosity and blessing others. We'd given away an old car to friends who needed it, we'd blessed families in need with part of my husband's bonus each year, we gave where it was needed.
But now?
We sit here, pinching pennies, worrying about how we're going to pay taxes, how we're going to afford to get new shoes--and it's all self-induced. It's crippling us, and while some might be willing to make the sacrifice for private school education, we feel that God is finally pushing us in a new direction.
He's telling me that His plans for me and my children are good, and not harmful.
He tells me that while I am blessed with children, they are ultimately His, and He will take care of them.
And He tells me that I am sole provider (beside my husband) of their spiritual foundation, and He has equipped me to give them a foundation, with or without private school.

So, while I sit here, on my son's tenth birthday, with God's gentle whisper on the day of his birth floating in my memory, I am at peace that I can still prepare my child, still protect his heart, still give him the courage to step into the world and fight for his beliefs, even with a public school education.
Blessings already have poured forth as we went to the school, found their new classrooms, met the staff. I had no reservation, no worry, just excitement that we are starting on a new adventure.

It won't be easy.

Just like when I signed up for motherhood, and didn't know all the bumps in the road that we surely found. But, I am equipped to handle it, and I know, that in the end, the greatest whisper spoken to me will be, "Well done, good and faithful servant," and I pray that it will bless the ears of my children as well.