Raising Children During Chaos

Raising children in the midst of chaos can seem like a task of responsibility and accountability because our hearts are filled with thoughts of logistics, plans, & overwhelmed by circumstances. 
Pressing into Jesus while I admonish our children has made me the most aware and humbled by the gift of the Holy Spirit. 
While their behavior is filled with selfishness, tantrums, questions, and the need for training, it isn’t abnormal. It can feel like the greatest inconvenience, though, when my heart is reeling and my thoughts aren’t captive to Christ. 
I’m overwhelmed by the grace and wisdom the Spirit speaks into me and through me when I’m gently talking through life with my children. When a directive, a calm answer, or wise training comes from the depths of my innermost heart. I’m overwhelmed because Jesus speaks to me even more than whatever I’m speaking to my children. 
When I’m speaking hope and understanding to them (through the Spirit’s leadership), it’s actually me He’s speaking to…filling up my heart and mind to prompt me towards steadfastness. I’ll never stop growing, and the inconveniences of nurturing and training my children insure this and though I don’t always thank God for it, I am today. 
So today when my heart is very aware of the circumstances today holds, as we travel to another town to meet with an oncologist to hear pet scan results and chemo treatment plans, I’m asking the Lord to calm my anxious heart with moments of truth shared with my children that are ultimately for us all. 
Grace so free, washes over me. 

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Above Reproach

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This week will be the final bible study of the semester for me with our college women. This semester marks a huge marker in my life spiritually, as well as my life as a wife, mother, friend, and homemaker. This is the first semester I have committed to teaching a long-term bible study since having children and staying home.

Why I Have Been Changed::

*closer relationships with our college women  *using our home to show hospitality  *accountability to read & study  *a few extra minutes with one of my best friends before we start  ***TEACHING IS MY JOY  *discipline in keeping our home clean (we’re home all day, it gets a little ridiculous)  *yearning fervently for myself & our college women to be changed  *edified & challenge by what God speaks  *realizing how POWERFUL it is for our children to watch ministry take place IN OUR HOME–Drake asks “is it Thursday?” “Do you have bible study?” “are those ladies coming over tonight?” (he DOES love him some college girl attention, but he very much understands what is taking place)

How I Have Been Challenged::

*closer (and sometimes difficult conversations) with our college women *accountability to read & study  *the third night in our week we are “reserved”  *discipline in keeping our home clean (along with the conviction that WE LIVE HERE & these girls know I’m human)  *allowing myself some grace when I “FEEL” like a failure in whatever I’ve taught  *allowing myself some grace when I “FEEL” like I haven’t kept up with every single one our college women  *it’s okay to need other people in order to see BIG things happen

Last week at Bible Study (Busy Minds, Deceptive Hearts), we discussed what we’re called to be (I hate ending a sentence with a preposition, but there it is).

Our great discussion looked like this…..

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Overview of 2 Timothy 2:15-21

-approved

Ephesians 1:13 & 4:30 sealed by the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 1:22

-workman not ashamed

above reproach

1 Corinthians 6:19 Body is a Holy Temple

-correctly handles Truth

How? Read & Study

2 Timothy 3:16    1 Timothy 4:15-16    1 Thess 5:19-22 2

-no godless chatter

What is the healthy opposite? Phil. 4:8

2 Cor 12:20 (gossip comes with other things)

Prov. 11:25 be a refreshing water

-teaching will spread
Titus 1:9
Means::Exhort sometimes
Deitrich Bonhoeffer “Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.”
2 Tim 4:2  Prov. 15:31  Prov. 27:6

*go back to the “correctly handles Truth” to exhort

Bonheoffer: “No man has any right to offer advice who has not first heard God speak. No man has any right to counsel others who is not ready to hear and follow the counsel of the Lord. True moral wisdom must always be an echo of God’s voice. The only safe light for our path is the light for our path is the light which is reflected from Christ, the Light of the World.”

-God’s foundation will stand no matter

-must cleanse/repent (Rev. 3:19)

when He makes a revelation it’s for reform not just to inform

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For the remainder of the week, my conversations revolved around what it means to be “above reproach”. I can’t define that for you in literal terms. I can speak to how the Lord has led and invested Truth into my heart to walk a life that is defined by grace & submission.

1 Corinthians 10 states:

23 All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his [i]neighbor.

You need to read the context of this to understand and comprehend the terms by which Paul is referencing. However, this has always been a leading light for me where convictions cause me to question my motivations. I think it’s poignant and specific that he ends the statement with the admonition to seek the good of his neighbor. It doesn’t matter if what I’m participating isn’t SINFUL or causing me TEMPTATION. What does it do TO and FOR my neighbor? That peer in your class, that sibling watching you, that parent who doesn’t know the Lord, that co-worker who has asked you questions about Christianity, that professor who challenges you on your faith? When we settle once and for all who we are setting ourselves to be and seek to be steadfast, it becomes less about our flesh and wants and more about glorification and gospel sharing. It becomes less about our rights and our pride and more about love. Above reproach means seeking the best for others. Our will and way diminishes in the light of His glory and grace.

This passage in chapter 10 of 1 Corinthians also states:

13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

I have heard this over and over “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”. The Lord loudly and specifically spoke “LIE” to me when someone shared that with me 2 years ago. I sought Him hard and He quickly answered me why my Spirit was convicted that it’s not Truth.

IF HE DIDN’T GIVE US MORE THAN WE CAN HANDLE THEN WE WOULDN’T NEED HIM. I won’t go into my life’s circumstances as to why this has been a CONSTANT in my thought process lately, but will relate this lesson in being above reproach.

When we want to do something and be a part of something, but have just started a journey towards being above approach, sometimes the “no” feels painful and sacrificial. We want to go out dancing with friends. There is no harm there. However, we have to go to a bar to do that. A bar where the opposite sex is waiting in hopes of “taking someone home” …. a bar where there is alcohol (that in and of itself may not be wrong the over consumption of it is and will cause your body that is a Holy Temple to be compromised). Where others will see us. Their definition of our faith is not the same as ours so we shouldn’t be held to their expectation, RIGHT? In my conviction referencing the previous verse…..it has nothing to do with our definitions/terms or their expectations. It has everything to do with Truth. If I go to that bar what does that speak about my gospel? I can’t answer that for you-only for myself. I may see that peer in my class, that sibling watching me, that parent who doesn’t know the Lord, that co-worker who has asked me questions about Christianity, that professor who challenges me on my faith.

Our temptation and desire to do things is not beyond the ability of Him to meet our needs-in all ways and at all times. Being above reproach is more glorification and gospel sharing. It becomes less about our rights and our pride and more about love. Above reproach means seeking the best for others. Our will and way diminishes in the light of His glory and grace.

I know, because I’ve had this conversation over the last 10 years A LOT and over the last week A LOT. It’s not fair. I shouldn’t have to choose my activities and hobbies and times of fun based on the fact it MIGHT cause others to stumble. I shouldn’t have to choose my words carefully as others should be mature enough to filter them for me.

None of that reflects anything in Scripture. It’s hard to hold our tongue. Scripture commands us to. It’s hard to share the gospel. Scripture commands us to. It’s hard to love our neighbor as yourself. Scripture commands us to. It’s hard to love a wife like Christ loves the church and it’s hard for wives to submit….Scripture commands us to. It’s hard to give up everything to follow and be like Christ (even the fun things don’t hurt us but might hurt others in their understanding of the gospel), but Scripture commands us to.

He will fill us up with far more precious and valuable experiences than the ones we give up to be above reproach. He will give us more valuable and eternal conversations to replace the gossip. He will provide life-giving relationships to replace the negativity and judgement we pass over of others.

Micah 6:

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart week 2 Re-Cap

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Busy Mind, Deceptive Heart

5.1.13

Melissa Sharp

Get a Life…Sentencing Myself

Most of us, when we look within, can put our finger on a strong desire to love and be loved, to accept and be accepted. Our longing for love represents one set of needs that partly defines what it means to be a person or spirit. You have experienced a sense of wholeness, a feeling of vitality and fullness, when you do something important haven’t you? Washing dishes or laundry may bore you, but wrestling with decisions of major consequence or responding to a medical emergency extends into deeper parts of our person and sense of self. We sense an urgent meaningfulness to what we are doing,

We need to feel secure and significant.

Two sets of needs in the bible:: pg. 28-29 of Marriage Builder

  • Romans 8 Paul’s excitement over Christ’s love
  • Job’s trust in a living Redeemer Job 19:25-27
  • John is overwhelmed by thoughts of the Lord’s love for His children in 1 John 3:1
  • Ruth was bound to Naomi by a connection stronger than cultural ties.
  • As soon as Adam and Eve were separated from God by sin, their capacity for love was no longer filled and was therefore experienced as a need-a need for love, a need for security.
  • Abraham was looking to leave his home and travel great distances because he was looking for a city with foundations designed and built by God in Hebrews 11:8-10.

The intangible identity that I know as “me” has two needs, which are personal realities not reducible to biological or chemical analysis. They have a personal existence, independent of the physical body, which constitutes the core of what it means to be a spirit.

“The image of God is reflected in two needs. God is a personal being who in His essential nature is love and who, as a God of design and purpose, is the author of meaning. We too are personal beings, but unlike our infinite, self-sufficient, and perfect God, we are limited, dependent, and fallen.” Crabb

Security: a convinced awareness of being unconditionally and totally loved without needing to change in order to win love, loved by a love that is freely given, that cannot be earned and therefore cannot be lost.

Significance: a realization that I am engaged in a responsibility or job that is truly important, whose results will not evaporate with time but will last through eternity, that fundamentally involves having a meaningful impact on another person, a job for which I am completely adequate.

Depending on the Lord to meet your needs

Our personal needs for security and significance can be fully met only in relationship with Christ. To put it another way, all that we need to function effectively as persons (not necessarily to feel happy or fulfilled) is fully supplied in relationship with Christ and in whatever He chooses to provide.

  1. We need to be secure. He loves us with a love we never deserved, a love that sees everything ugly within us yet accepts us, a love that we can do nothing to increase or decrease, a love that was forever proven at the Cross, where Christ through His shed blood fully paid for our sins to provide us with the gift of an eternally loving relationship with God. In that love, I am secure.-Crabb
  2. 2.    We need to be significant. The Holy Spirit has graciously and sovereignty equipped every believer to participate in God’s great purpose of bringing all things together in Christ. The body of Christ builds itself up through the exercise of each member’s gifts. We are enabled to express our value by ministering to others, enduring wrong without grumbling, and faithfully doing everything to the limits of our capacity for the Glory of God Eph 2:10 and that our obedience will contribute to fulfilling the eternal plan of God.-Crabb

The Truth

Our dulled eyes of faith strain to keep these spiritual realities in clear focus. The central truth that serves as the platform for Christian relationships, is that in Christ we are at every moment eternally loved and genuinely significant. Too often Christians fall off this platform of truth into error. When key relationships fail to make feel secure or significant, it may be difficult to hold firmly on to the fact that I remain a worthwhile person.-Crabb

Error 1: Rejection and failure mean that I am a less worthwhile person.

Because someone has rejected me or because I have failed, I am less worthwhile as a person. It is also possible to slip from the platform of truth into error on another side. The truth that “Christ is all I need” may sometimes degenerate into a defensive posture to avoid personal hurt by maintaining a safe emotional distance in relationships. You must not hide behind the truth of your worth in Christ to avoid feeling pain in a relationship.

To say that Christ is sufficient does not imply that He is to function as some sort of cover protecting us from the pain of interpersonal fire. His resources make it possible for us to continue responding biblically in spite of the great pain we may feel, because the hurt, though great, will never be enough to rob us of our security and significance. All we need to live, no matter what our circumstances, is the security of His love and the significance of participation in His purpose.

Error 2: Christ is all I need; therefore I can avoid intimate relationships with others.

To avoid this error, take these 2 steps.

  1. Fully acknowledge all your feelings to God. Christians often are trained to pretend they feel joyful and happy when they are actually miserable. Because we “shouldn’t” feel unhappy, we pretend we don’t. Heb 4:15 teaches that our Great High Priest can sympathize with us when we experience weakness. Talk to the Lord, through prayer and humility about your hurt and thank Him for His love.
  2. Reaffirm the truth of your security and significance in Christ. One of the central truths of the Christian life is that our feelings need never determine how we believe or what we do. Remind yourself that in Christ you are fully loved and worthwhile despite others’ rejection.

Look at the images and ponder the differences.  Where is God? Who has ultimate responsibility? What action takes place?

Until you are dangling over the abyss of rejection, held only by the love of God, and not until then, will you deeply know that Christ can meet your need for security. 1 John 4:18. We will never know that love until we depend on it to preserve us from destruction.

After you jump, there is an interval of time before the rope of love extends fully to support the persona’s weight over the abyss. Example skydiving. For the scared Christian, who makes the “leap of faith” the moments before Christ’s love is experienced as real personal security may last an hour, a day, a week, a year or longer. Now is the time to rely on His Word Ps. 73:26

Now What?

Figure out “you”.

You understand self-worth shouldn’t be wrapped up in someone else. The most important thing you can do for developing healthy relationships, is figure out your personality.

If you know who you are, you won’t have the insatiable need to be in a relationship or on a date to feel good about yourself. These people drain their dating partner (and eventually a spouse) dry because they are looking to others to meet their needs.

People who don’t have a life are really putting their lives on hold.

The Deadly D’s of not having a life

  1.  Desperation: You rush in and rush through. Your urgent need to fill a void keeps you from going slower in order to allow a more normal, natural process of bonding to occur. You don’t have the inner strength necessary to stave off desperation. This urge-to-merge scares off potential mates instead of attracting them.
  2. Dependence: dependent daters have difficulty making decisions and taking responsibility for their lives and their own decisions. When a dependent person enters a relationship, he/she usually sucks the lifeblood our of the other person. A dependent dater will depend on the other person to meet most of his/her needs to provide a sense of identity.
  3.  Depression and loneliness: this “D” usually affects the whole person; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is to be expected to experience some feelings of depression and drops in self-confidence and self-esteem. The danger in isolation and extreme depression is the downward spiral it creates. This can be prevented, but if it happens can also be treated.
  4.    Detachment: disengaging from life, this step will take you completely away from vital relationships. Withdrawing to protect yourself, can cause some serious problems just like depression, but it starts with your own actions. Therefore, this is a “D” you can be leery of and avoid if you’re really watching yourself. Just because there are some failed attempts at relationships or failed relationships, doesn’t justify cutting yourself off from friends and family.

How to get a life

When you see yourself the way God sees you, you will be free from insecurity and fear. What you believe about yourself and your core identity determines how you behave.

Get into a group

Getting into a group is all about developing replenishing relationships. It is about being in deeper relationships where there is trust, safety, and vulnerability.

  • Commit to a local church by joining,
  • find a small group, join a team,
  • serve in the community with others,
  • find a few who will encourage you and if needed-confront you

Create a life sentence

You only get one sentence when you’re gone from this earth. What do you want others to say? “Oh, I remember her….she….” My life sentence is “To be about the growth of other individuals” it ultimately combines sharing Christ and walking with them after. I’m always looking for ways to help people grow and move forward in their life. It affects every conversation I have with people, directly and indirectly. If I’m not faithful to that sentence, I feel convicted and moved to be obedient. This will help you steer clear of being unequally yolked, it will affect your ministry to your peers, it will direct your speech and actions, and ultimately hold you accountability in all areas-especially dating.

Adapted & Quoted from “Marriage Builder” by Larry Crabb

Ten Commandments of Dating by Ben Young and Dr Samuel Adama