Motherhood as a Ministry

matthew 16

 

I am reading a rich book alongside Scripture. It is geared towards home education, but mostly what I’m drinking deep from this book is the hard truth regarding discipleship of my children. I will be doing a series of blog posts to share with you what I’ve gained from this book and how it has nestled into my heart concerning my role in biblical parenting.

These are my personal thoughts from reading “Educating The WholeHearted Child” by Clay Clarkson with Sally Clarkson

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.”  John 12: 24-26

This verse appoints to us the necessity it is to account for the cost of ministry, given that we have acknowledged our role in ministering to our children. Although they’re discussing home education, I couldn’t help but dwell on the great ministry I have to my children. We have chosen for me to be a stay at home parent since my oldest son (5 year old now March 2016) was 6 months old. After the first month, my husband noticed a gigantic shift in my countenance. He asked if I was doing alright. I told him I was going to pray for definition, but that I didn’t FEEL alright. We were able to talk through my newest disposition and nailed down than my downtrodden appearance was negligence. Of myself. I quickly learned to discern when I needed time to refresh and recharge, but also learned that wasn’t going to be a consistent reality. I learned to find those opportunities even in the presence of my children because my calling was to model Christ to them and He wasn’t about self. In a culture that is screaming at us “you deserve _____” or “be true to yourself”, parenting in a biblical effort means we understand Jeremiah 17:9 “the heart is deceitful above all things”. We can lean into our heart or feelings when discipling and disciplining children. Those two will lie to us and steal the future healthiness and wellness of our children.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will rewards each person according to what he has done.”  Matthew 16:24-27

There is a cost to parenting with Christ in mind and goal. We make decisions and sacrifices with great prayer and focus in order to lead our children to the mind of Christ.

In our decisions, consistency and commitment are among the most important.
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.” Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation wile the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.  Luke 14: 28-33

It’s a desperate moment when our children’s hearts are bent against Christ because they are caught in a battle of the spirit and flesh. That desperate moment when we waiver whether we are going to swiftly address their heart issue or if we’re going to let is slide because it’s the hard work. The hard work of being committed to biblical discipline and discipleship is what will produce the children we (as parents of young children) see in the teens and their parents relationships that we hunger after for our families in a few years. We watch our mentors and friends with high school and college children who have healthy relationships with positive life choices and love Christ and desire that for our families. It takes the hard work of ministering to our children, making sacrifices, and being committed.

 

Advertisements

How do I find my voice

  
In a single minute we have more access to technology than many of our ancestors would even know what to do with much less care to utilize. I could look up the statistics, but that would be in direct opposition to what I’m thinking on today. 

I’ve seen several posts regarding national women’s day which have mostly included pleas concerning their own daughters finding their strength, voice, wisdom, etc. I don’t have a daughter, but I am a woman. 

I love people and learned how to do that from my husband (after deep conviction from the Holy Spirit that this is a main crux of the gospel). I don’t love as well as I would like and find myself frantic to invest into my children, be active and helpful for our parents (however, they’re honestly STILL doing this in our season of life more than I would have chosen), and to come alongside my husband’s endeavors whatever that may be (him being out after or before work to serve/minister, giving him time alone to rest and Sabbath-though he’s stubborn there due to his lively & passionate desire to be with us, pushing him to take time away with friends, etc). 

I don’t feel neglected or lost in my identity. I know Who I belong to for eternity and for whom I’m living here on earth. My husband is steadfast in ministering to me in so many ways–sleeping in (my love language), encouraging me to have a day for the boys to go to grandparents and I spend time alone (again, my love language) and so many other ways. 

Because sleeping and being alone are my (jokingly) love languages, I am hampered in building friendships. My new diagnosis (Multiple Sclerosis) has given viability to those loved activities (sleeeeeeep please) and anything alone to refresh. There is a take on energy called “spoon theory” and it is referenced by most chronic autoimmune disease sufferers (MS has been thrust into that category, though, like all things MS, still mostly unknown). It basically means you have only so many spoons of energy a day and you have to choose wisely how they are used for the day. Let me just say, on a rare day filled with fatigue, a shower and getting ready is pretty much ALL of my spoons (and it makes me so angry because I’m learning how this does not equate laziness but goodness it so FEELS like it). But, I’ve learned how to maneuver that and make it work for our life because I cannot slow down and won’t. 

Finding my voice takes energy. Finding my voice takes thought and action. I have preferred the written word for much of my life. Want to know what I’m thinking? May I send you an email? Some of my best friends have said “can you just call me?” Because I can text with you into the depths of my heart and you will get more of my soul than anyone on earth standing face to face with me. It’s a flaw for me, I know. It speaks to my heart when you’ll take my test conversations. I have learned that if I want to be loved by a friend understanding that I would rather text, I have to live by understanding they’re a verbal processor and I need to call them. This will land on the hearts of some of my people and make them think I never want to talk in person or on the phone, ever. That’s not true, this is how we grow in finding our voice. It’s not about me being heard. 

Finding my voice is about me growing and taking baby steps to be stronger. These same friends now text and let me process via text and allow me, in my own time, to call them! And I do. I’m much faster to pick up the phone now. It’s not about being awkward or uncomfortable like some of my introvert friends. I’m the most outgoing introvert there ever was and continue to enjoy being around and with people. But, I have a “recover time”. Anyone else? 

This is still my happy place. Writing. Conveying my thoughts, ideas, convictions (risky, given the absurd speed at which “opinion” travels and the backlash that can ensue before you can ask “I can’t have an opinion?!) and hopes, dreams, and fears. 

Scripture tells us the heart is deceitful above all things. I have a love/fear relationship with one of my giftings (prophecy). It prompts me to think beyond the heart and feelings (which is healthy) but sometimes keeps me in my head (my momma always said I had common sense 😂) and out of my heart. It has proven to me that I must seek to be like Christ because a prophet sees the hard and real and sometimes misses the mercy and grace. 

Today, on national women’s day, I’m finding my voice by admitting that I have some serious steps to take in building deeper friendships. Our culture of women keep talking about “my people” and “my tribe” and though it sounds wonderful, I want to make sure mine knows I’m just as much a part of being honest and vulnerable in having a voice to share as much as I ask and wish from them. 

It seems ironic to say I’m going to talk and not just listen, but to reciprocate friendship I have to be known, too. It seems arrogant. I have wisdom that tells me many of my closest friends who know me and value me will be elated to know I’m ready to be known, too. I won’t just be asking the questions anymore. I won’t just be saying “I’m okay…how was that….the other day that we prayed about?” 

Finding my voice will be a work in process. When most of us process, we start where we’re comfortable.  I’ve started where I’m comfortable but it’s vulnerable and I’m trusting the Lord to move mountains in my heart and flesh. 
  

when answers don’t come

DSC_0036edit

 

when driving home for nap time, I whispered “please God, send the rain” and i heard about 30 times “PLEEEEEEASE God, send the RAIN!” from Drake. we got home and he said…”I guess He didn’t want to send rain right now”. a theology lesson ensued about how God answers prayers. i think the lesson was more for me than my son.

if you didn’t know, northern texas is on the doorstep of Stage 5 drought conditions. it’s devastating. i dare say you can understand if you haven’t seen this kind of dryness. our lakes are drying up. our yards are dead. our trees are dropping huge branches. it’s terribly sad.

there are areas of our family’s life that have seemed like the wilderness. places in our life and hearts that we have prayed for years that God would deliver and heal. so far, he hasn’t done either.

then there are places in the life of our family that we have prayed, and immediately received exactly what we needed and/or wanted.

did the same God handle both of those circumstances? absolutely. he was not a better Provider for us when He gave us our request than in the places where He hasn’t given direction or resolution.

where we lack for understanding, He is still Providing. He’s providing because He is walking with us, teaching us what it means to trust Him. He’s providing because He is giving the faith to realize and proclaim that we believe Him….even when we don’t understand, even when we hurt, and even when we have severe wants.

we are not exempt from the struggle of this world and the struggle with sin when we trust Christ. we are given a new set of tools with which we can maneuver this earth. what grace and sufficiency He is to empower us with great access to wisdom and trust. we just need to ask. sometimes our knees, but ask nonetheless.

He’s always there. He doesn’t see our times as good or bad. He seems them as He ordained them-we walk, knowing He’s in control and sometimes He’s more interested in growing our hearts and character than growing whatever might come from our requests.

Psalm 139

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in [f]Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will [g]overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark [h]to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

today’s demands teach tomorrow’s grace

the day is nearing the end. the pressure to meet the demands is over. did you meet them? what is success?

define success for yourself so you know your own expectations for yourself. evaluate them. make yourself some benchmarks. no one hits their success of huge goals immediately. it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

in fact, that’s what usually keeps me from making goals. or making attempts at my own expectations. i have failed before. i have hit the evening (it seems every day) with a miserable gut check that i accomplished NOTHING i set out to complete that day.

the reality? i didn’t set out to complete anything. i had a mental to do list. and a child woke up too early. he demanded specific items for breakfast. said items ended up all over my sheets. youngest child wakes up screaming, too. they both have pungent diapers and soaked clothes. now to more food and bottles and cups full of milk. toys spread everywhere. fingers touching dangerous things. tiny bodies climbing to high places that cause immediate danger and panic. they’re quiet now……interrupt productivity to find the children. toys everywhere. one wants to paint. can i watch a show? let’s have a snack! momma we miss dadda. why are you screaming? snack? milk? diaper? align the cosmos?!?! oh it’s lunch. what are we having (that would have been on my mental to do list—meal planning, maybe at naptime). oh you don’t want to eat anything on your plate? out of the 7 options i put on there? hm. time for nap. no one wants to take a nap? momma does! can we trade?! WHEW. youngest is down without a hitch. spanking. screaming. gnashing of teeth. compromise. promise. spanking. screaming. gnashing of teeth. no sleep today. no nap=nothing accomplished for momma. every one up. snacks. milk. more milk. they drink milk all day. could i be a dairy farmer? nope. i’d never make it. thought detour. clean up kitchen. get ready to start dinner. MASS HYSTERIA AND EVERYONE LOSES THEIR MINDS. momma is going to cook dinner? act like a crazed maniac! because….she doesn’t cook dinner ALMOST every night??! i mean, what a shock! cooking to the music of screaming, yelling, fit throwing, ……. DADDA IS HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we’re the happiest boys alive! oh? that screaming? we just wanted to see how many decibels she could take! and dinner. bath. clean up rooms. bed.

the end of the day. i survived. but i did i thrive? was there joy emitted? today’s demands have made me aware that it’s night’s end and i must accept the grace for the moments that were not beautiful and walk into tomorrow with grace for the moments that will be challenging.

for where i felt like a failure today, i can only make a goal for how to approach that situation again and what it would look like to be a success. i was never a failure. feelings are NOT Truth.

progress, not perfection is the strategy with which i’ll run this marathon.

i want my husband and children to see grace. lived and offered. not the cranky, i’m short tempered with the world because of my own shortcomings, attitude i’ve exhibited lately. they don’t need to be effected with emotions for where i THINK i’ve failed, they need to have me fully present in my calling as a wife and a mom and the TRUTH of what that calling is—that’s where i am seeking my identity. not the 10 absolute best aspects of 10 people that i expect myself to be all wrapped up in one individual.

marathon. not sprint.

what we learned from a prostitute last night

Image

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

September 5, 2013

Week 1

Read Joshua 2

Rahab is a prostitute.

The  New Testament references to Rahab indicate that she was an immoral woman. The Greek word used to describe Rahab is “porne” the word from which we get “pornography.”

  1. Rahab makes a choice.
  1. It involves a risk.
    1. Her family
    2. Her security
    3. Her life
  1. The spies make a covenant with Rahab.

What are the responsibilities of both parties? Rahab? The spies?

Rahab waits…..

  1. How God uses Rahab
  1. She is obedient.
  2. She believes God.
  3. She is an example of how God knows us.

She suffered some unknowns in her steps of faith.

Rahab stepped out on faith. She was not from a culture who believed God and trusted Him. God met her where she was and walked with her after, giving her a new future and a new hope.

The waiting is over. Rahab’s impact on believers.

  1. She saves her family.

Her first priority was acting what she knew of God. Her second priority was saving her family.

  1. She is a gentile.
  1. She is in the lineage of Christ.

Read Matthew 1:5, Hebrews 11:30-31, and James 2:25. Rahab and Salmon had a son, Boaz. Boaz was the father of Obed; Obed, the father of Jesse; Jesse, the father of King David. And from the line of King David of the tribe of Judah came the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.]

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Rahab (and our) response to the Lord – where she has been exchanging her body, now she is exchanging ownership of her body for righteous purposes.

How have you exchanged your body or self for a relationship?

Remember our discussion on boundaries?

I’m going to trust God can bring me better than what I can do by exchanging my body or by giving up what God has called me to hold fast to in this world.

when we can’t put it back together

Image

photo cred: DeEdra Folmar of Photo[E]motion Photography

desperate times call for desperate measures. i’ve heard that saying before.

now that others depend on me, i know what desperate feels like.

desperate to be better than good.

desperate to be one step ahead of their needs.

desperate to provide love, security, and comfort.

desperate to be a safe place, emotionally.

desperate to be entertaining and challenging.

all of those desires seem so noble. but they’re empty. they are my definition, fueled by my fleshly opinion of what the world is screaming at me to be and do. i get to this understanding of emptiness when i’m broken and weary. my two least favorite adjectives when i’m humbling myself before the Lord. and it usually comes when i would least expect it. i would expect broken and weary when i’m tired. i would expect them when i’m not intimately acquainted with sanctification. i would expect them when i’m busy. i would expect them when i just don’t want to do life anymore. and sometimes, these are all true moments that open the door for brokenness and weariness. but, not this time.

this time, broken and weary found me at the corner of “i’m being consistent with my children, trying to be consistent with my home, and i’m pushing through”. my marriage is a safe place for me so i’m “trying harder” there, just asking for grace from the Lord and my husband every day.

so why broken and weary if being consistent and gracious? because THOSE ARE SO HARD AND THEY TAKE A LOT OF SANCTIFICATION AND I CAN’T MAINTAIN THEM ON MY OWN.

when we’re hanging on by a thread during obedient and faithful times, it’s expected to experience weariness. and brokeness. because we are tired, selfless, and out of our own motivation. it’s spent. our obedience and discipline must come from Somewhere else. the Spirit intercedes. we need Him. that’s why Christ sent us a Helper. we cannot do good alone.

be encouraged. if you think to do good today, the indwelling of the Spirit is moving you. if you think to be disciplined today, the Holy Spirit is prompting you and putting it in you to move forward.

so when we’re ready to throw in the towel in an area where we’ve been plugging along, faithful and obedient, don’t. let’s press forward. he’s done such a work in us, let’s be an open vessel for that work to continue. ultimately, we’re seeking to look like Christ. that doesn’t happen with one small victory. we continue taking steps forward.

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6
being confident of this, that he who began a goodwork in you will carry it on to completion until the day ofChrist Jesus

Psalm 51:10

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart FALL KICK-OFF

ImageThis Thursday, September 5 @ 8pm we will be kicking off our fall college ladies discipleship study in our home. To say that I’m eager to spend time with our college women would be an understatement. My heart has yearned since Brady came on staff at FBC to be able to spend time with our college women in an environment where I could pour into and invest in their lives spiritually. I have taken opportunities in small chunks in the last 5 years to do this, but we are now in a season where we can make this happen on a weekly basis. Every Thursday through November, there will be college women in our home, desperate to hear and walk through Scripture and what it speaks to them about relationships. I’m fervently praying for them as I know the Lord has already started to permeate my heart about my own relationships and my own attitude towards others. I believe and trust that He will cut through our flesh with Truth and deep repentance and will replace the dross that He removes with compassion, obedience, and purpose. We are praying for fellowship, life-changing decisions, and healthy relationships.

Here’s a peek at what we’ll be discussing this week:::

“By faith Rahab the prostitute escaped the destruction of the disobedient, because she welcomed the spies in peace.” HEBREWS 11:31

How did God use a prostitute to aid in the fall of Jericho? Rahab chose a life of obedience to the Lord which saved her family and aided in the fall of Jericho to ultimately deliver Israel to their Promise Land.

We will be delving into Rahab’s decisions and how they forever impacted her life, giving her a role in the lineage of Christ.

Do you actually believe that you are a part of the expansion of God’s Kingdom, and if so, at least in a spiritual sense, a part of the lineage of Christ?

See you Thursday!

what’s your motivation?

i’m so convicted.

being a believer is messy. you’re called to be involved in the lives of others and accountable for your own growth and character. it is hard work and takes diligence with discipline and a fervent prayer life. we all stumble and falter because we are in the world with vast amounts of distraction. the Lord has put people in your life to edify and by which you may be challenged. but with that diligence and discipline comes new growth, opportunity, successes, and changed lives. being a part of that is messy too. but Jesus didn’t take breaks to do other things. being like Christ doesn’t come with breaks or time-outs. He’s with you during the highs, lows, and in-betweens. and He ordained them. attempting to do life without Him or aside from Him will bring disappointment and frustration as you create your own wildernesses instead of walking through the Lot He’s given you and claiming the freedom He has for you as you’re sifted. let your YES be YES and your NO, NO.

Jesus didn’t invest in people and love them for what they could/would do for them. what’s your motivation?

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:9-10 NIV

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.[a] Matthew 5:37 (NIV)

12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned. James 5:12 (NIV)

know your role

Image

(art found here)

it’s a slippery slope when we find ourselves comparing ourselves. sometimes, the worst comparison is the comparison to what we once were, or our own perspective thereof.

add to that, the comparison to those around us. the comparison to those around us who are “so good at _______________”. the comparison to others, who, FOR WHAT WE CAN SEE, don’t struggle at all to live their lives fully and faithfully. the comparison to others who SEEM to be constantly growing, changing, moving towards something far more exciting than what we can see in our lives.

i received a text from a very faithful, yet struggling young woman today. Struggling only because she has some major trials and thorns in her flesh right now. but, she is struggling well. her question was “do you ever feel needy?” she went on to clarify “not in an emotional way, but like something is missing and you need “it”‘ now, to give you a better idea of her question, you must know that she very intimately knows and walks with the Lord, even in her questions and frustrations over her circumstances. so her “needy” question stems from her experiences with the Lord, not a void she’s looking to fill.

to that, i replied, absolutely. there are so many lies in the world and even christian culture right now. they are speaking to women about what will meet their needs. marriage, children, different or more friends, materials, sometimes even different lifestyle choices of eating, working out, or the spiritual deceit of “if i read this or do this” something will get better.

rarely is it taught to be still. really TAUGHT. no just mentioned. or quoted from scripture. but taught how it looks, how it thinks, how it talks, how it manifests, and how it’s practiced. again, so much of culture, even christian, throws around great advice. “just be still”. well, ok. how?

think i’m going to tell you? no. not today. honestly, i want to share. but i’m going to work through that myself this week. so, for my next tuesday without baby boys, i will tell you how i journeyed through being still this week. my prayer would be for you to work through being still also.

some questions and matters of prayer::

1. how am i comparing myself? to whom? for what purpose?

2. how am i walking with the Lord? how am i intimately getting more acquainted with Him?

3. do i know what it is to be crucified with Christ?

4. am i standing firm in the places God has called and led and being focused there?

5. am i being tossed and turned with everything that comes my way? what’s my foundation?

i would love to hear from you. and i would even be honored to pray for you.

“My determined purpose is that I may know Him-that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly.” Phil. 3:10

Two Hearts, One Flesh (week 1 preview & discussion questions)

Image

our calling as wives

1. be a helper (Genesis 2:18)

2. be virtuous (strength AND substance) (Prov. 31:10,11)

3. be prudent (Prov. 19:14)

4. be submissive (Ephesians 5:22)

5. be a companion

Questions to think about before we meet::

*Where is your husband “wanting” & needing your help or encouragement? What needs can you meet?

*How do your decisions and kindness show godly wisdom that prove you to be virtuous (valuable) to your husband?

*Think of examples where you have chosen to fear the Lord which ultimately gained you strength in your character?

*How can you more effectively pray towards your husband in order that you will bolster him and, in turn, cause yourself to trust his lead more effectively?

*What are some areas you need to subdue your selfishness in order to stop trying to control and start submitting?

*What are some things you can do to be sensitive to desires, activities, needs that will cause you to be a better companion to your husband?