Parenting


Funny how when we ask God to lead us or grow us in an area, it can be asking for serious trouble! Such was the outcome of a challenge presented to me (and our fellowship) by a dear friend and mentor in Christ.  The scripture was presented and the question posed as follows:

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom throught the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

“What manifestion of the Spirit would we like to see more of in our lives?  The more we are active in the gifts and minstries that God works through us, the more the Church will be encouraged and built up. These things are not for ouselves but for the Church.”

My answer, foolishly 😛 was… “faith”.

And so began a walk that exposed my lack of faith, which is why I really can’t call this post “My Faith Walk” but rather “My Walk Into Faith.”

And this is what it was all about:

Meet the newest member of our family, baby Sophie.  She’s a happy, content, perfect little girl who has no idea of the ups and downs I went through while the Lord carefully knit her together in my womb. And what a fearful and wonderful job He did!

There was never any concern for Sophie’s health (or my own), the only issue was that she spent the entire second half of my pregnancy in the breech position.  This was a new one for me…fourth baby and never faced this before. You can now ask me lots of questions about breech babies…I’ve given Dr Google a workout!

I have discovered that much faith building is done in the mind; it’s here that the battle for our heart is fought. I could trust God in some areas, and to certain extents but my faith was limited by my mindsets. I also discovered that while I could confidently trust God to do His part, I wasn’t certain I could do my part.  I was afraid to stand up in opposition to what medical society would deem as “good medical standard practices” to wait for God.  As it happened, I didn’t have to stand up for my right to not have a C-Section, as Sophie turned thanks to an ECV (external cephalic version) proceedure. (This was another faith building exercise!)

I would now estimate that my faith is approximately the size of a mustard seed, but at least I know it is there! I also know that it is there “for the profit of all,” and I must share it whenever I can; and oh! how I want to!

“Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Ephesians 6:16

I experienced faith in all it’s protective glory one afternoon during my 37th week of pregnancy.  My baby  remained stubbornly breech after a failed ECV when, through a “well-meaning” relative, the enemy’s darts came thick and fast.  But I trusted God.  In my heart I knew what God was capable of, and not one of those poisonous words meant to bring fear and doubt were able to penetrate.  It was exactly like I had arrows falling uselessly to the ground at my feet.  The imagery at the time was so vivid.  Even as she was speaking it was as if I could see the spiritual world at work.  This is what a mustard seed of faith can do.  It is not that we must stand up for our faith, so to speak, but that our faith stands up for us.  When we need it most, it is there! Hallelujah!

Another amazing point that has come out of my “study” on faith,  is that it is not faith that we seek…it is God!  As we look at Him our faith grows and builds.  It is not something we have to work on – we work on our relationship with Him.  It is not our faith that we trust in, but Him!  Such an obvious thing but revolutionary when it drops solidly into our hearts and is etched there.

One final point that was a major headline in my 40 week walk (well, 41…she made me wait – patience was worked on too 😉 ), was that “fear is the opposite of faith.”  The weapon to counter fear, I found, is love.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7

When you can say “God loves me” and you know it in your heart, you can trust Him.  He does love us, so we can trust Him! At this, fear flees! (Saying it out loud helps. 😉 ) Again, when it is etched more deeply in your heart, then it is revolutionary to our minds and our mindsets!

This experience has been a preparation.  There are faith testing times coming as the day of our Lord draws ever nearer, and I know that now I am more ready to face whatever lies ahead.  Learning to use our weapons (and dress in our armor) of warfare is ever needful as the end of the age comes upon us. This is what the Lord does as He completes His work in us.  As we spend time with Him, he dresses us; first in a robe of righteousness, then we can put on His armor!

Sophie is nearly four months old already, to give you an indication of how far behind I am in getting to my blog, but I am still reading my favourite blogs even if I don’t comment often.  Perhaps as I get used to the new routine of life I can be a bit more active in the blogging world; I love the encouragement I get from you all.  Thanks for your patience and your continued diligence to your own blogs.

(I didn’t make this post a complete pregnancy testimony, however I will probably write one in the near future as I discovered there is not a lot of positive information on the internet regarding breech issues.  People are pleased to post negative experiences and comments under the guise of “warning” people, but this only feeds fear and anxiety for those with breech presenting babies.  The options I took were positive experiences with favourable outcomes contrary to what people on the net said I should expect. But more on that in my pregnancy post…in the meantime, if anyone has any specific questions or if you are pregnant with a baby presenting in the breech postition and have come accross this post, feel free to comment or ask a question, I’ll be more than happy to share directly. 😀 )

We have been watching a number of nature documentaries lately, mostly focusing on animals.  This has triggered a  few trains of thought.

Firstly, the whole creation verses evolution debate. (No debate in my mind…I’m sold out on creation of course. 😉 ) How evolutionists can keep a straight face when they verbalize their theories, is beyond me! So ridiculous it sounds.  I am also outraged that the wonder of God’s creation and the amazing splendor of it all, can be vandalized in such abhorrent fashion.  To quote one narrator, “these particular animals (one of the pre-historic big cats) were the leader of the food chain until the upright apes began to dominate the earth”. UPRIGHT APES! Oh please! 😯 Surely the time spoken of by Timothy is upon us:

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

This particular Discovery Channel DVD also showed hairy ape looking people-type beings supposedly our ancestors!  I am disgusted that these are the “facts” offered to impressionable children!  To be educated in such a way as to propose that you are nothing more than an evolved ape, is far removed from the Truth; We are created in the image of God and through Jesus we may indeed become the temple of God!

On this note, if anyone has a recommendation of documentaries presented from a creationist viewpoint, please do comment and let me know.  I simply cannot stomach another “billion year old” fallacy presented as fact! I will  be investigating the creation science website as a friend has recommended it, but any further information or links would be appreciated (one link per comment though or you may get labelled as spam!)

This leads me into my second thought.  Watching the amazing handiwork of our great God has caused me to notice how far society has come from the resemblance of  the image of God in which we were created.  Truly the enemy has been trying to destroy that image within us, and has made substantial ground. 

I have watched a starving animal lay with her young who is dying from lack of nourishment and fatigue.  Even after death, the mother will lay with the body for over 24 hours before moving on to continue her search of food.  I have watched an animal risk it’s own life to come to the rescue of a young one, and pay the ultimate sacrifice because of it.  Dominant males are often a threat to young mammals, however, rarely will a mother turn on her offspring. 

Contrast this with the parenting styles of today, where infants are left to be “nurtured” in facilities, where ratios of staff to infants are 1 to 5.  Senator Kate Lundy (Labor senator for the ACT) noted “As was highlighted on The 7.30 Report on 6 August, 2008, an often unqualified young person who is responsible for the care of five babies cannot provide quality care for them all, yet this is legal in most states.”

If babies are being cared for in child care centres, they may be considered lucky. Perhaps they should be thankful they are not one of the 90,000 babies aborted in Australia each year, or 46 million each year worldwide. (For more staggering abortion statistics check out the NSW Right to Life website here)

Seeing the creatures God has made caring for their young in these documentaries has left me wondering what has lead mothers to turn on their children to the point of death. This is so unnatural and is totally perverting the whole western society as it embraces the practice of abortion. Even the simplest of God’s creatures have an appreciation and a respect for life. I do not wish to get into an abortion debate with anyone…I have read enough on blogs to know, that those who wish to argue, are not to be swayed, and have truly hardened their hearts. But I truly believe that the evidence against this practice is all around us, screaming out to us, showing us God’s glory in His creation, and in this, showing us the ferociousness of our own actions.

This post was not meant to turn into an abortion debate, nor, did I mean to spend so long on this issue, but rather, it is a call to mothers, and parents. To embrace their children; to return to the image in which we are created; one of love, and nurturing, training in and imparting life.

I have seen marriages and families destroyed due to the chasing of careers and finances to pay off houses, which in the end, will have no one in them. Do not sacrifice families for finances, the cost is far too high.

As christians, we must be a voice to the children who are left to be raised by, and educated in, the whims of the day. We must be ready to introduce them to their Creator, and remind them of what has been instilled within them…that they are not an upright ape, but fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

I pray, that no opportunity is missed for a child to meet God, and further, that opportunities are created.

I received this poem in an email today…I am unfortunately prone to this sort of thing so it spoke right to my heart.  I pray my actions will reflect the priorites of my heart, not the busyness of my day.

F A M I L Y 

I ran into a stranger as he passed by, 
‘Oh excuse me please’ was my reply. 

He said, ‘Please excuse me too; 
I wasn’t watching for you.’ 

We were very polite, this stranger and I. 
We went on our way and we said goodbye. 

But at home a different story is told, 
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.. 

Later that day, cooking the evening meal, 
My son stood beside me very still. 

When I turned, I nearly knocked him down. 
‘Move out of the way,’ I said with a frown…

He walked away, his little heart broken. 
I didn’t realize how harshly I’d spoken.

While I lay awake in bed, God’s still small voice came to me and said,

‘While dealing with a stranger, 
common courtesy you use, 
but the family you love, you seem to abuse. 

Go and look on the kitchen floor, 
You’ll find some flowers there by the door. 

Those are the flowers he brought for you. 
He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.

He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise, 
you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes.’ 

By this time, I felt very small, 
And now my tears began to fall. 

I quietly went and knelt by his bed; 
‘Wake up, little one, wake up,’ I said. 

‘Are these the flowers you picked for me?’ 
He smiled, ‘I found ’em, out by the tree.’

I picked ’em because they’re pretty like you. 
I knew you’d like ’em, especially the blue.’ 

I said, ‘Son, I’m very sorry for the way I acted today; 
I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.’ 

He said, ‘Oh, Mom, that’s okay. 
I love you anyway.’ 

I said, ‘Son, I love you too, 
and I do like the flowers, especially the blue.’ 

FAMILY 

Are you aware that if we died tomorrow, the company 
that we are working for could easily replace us in 
a matter of days. 
But the family we left behind will feel the loss 
for the rest of their lives. 

And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more 
into work than into our own family, 
an unwise investment indeed, 
don’t you think? 

So what is behind the story? 

Do you know what the word FAMILY means? 

FAMILY = (F)ATHER (A)ND (M)OTHER (I) (L)OVE (Y)OU

“1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

“16 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world……18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” John 17:16 and 18

We have heard it said many times that we are “in the world, but not of the world”.  What do you do then, when the world creeps into your home?  How do you get it out again?  I speak regarding the raising of godly children, how does one keep them “unspotted from the world”?

My son, master Ten, is a wonderful boy who loves the Lord and has been given a vision and a heart for the Lord’s work in his future.  What a joy it is to encourage him in this! 

I am annoyed that despite great attempts at preserving or rather censoring what my son, master Ten, is exposed to, the world still penetrates.  I am disgusted at what the world has to offer…perversion on every side!  I am disturbed that such things are presented to appeal to young people!

Computer games are on my hit list now!  I don’t even want to write the (wish I could think of another word to describe it but can’t) “perverted” content which has spurred this rant, so I won’t.  It frustrates me that, in spite of restrictions, placed by me to try to avoid this very thing, outside influence occurs and then I am left with the job of trying to undo what has been done, and re-claim lost ground. 

It annoys me that adults (generally I mean, in our western society), even christian adults, no longer lead by example.  If a movie, computer game, book or any other thing is unsuitable for children… then it is probably unsuitable full stop! 

Children are so very perceptive!  It is important that they aspire, and admire, people whom we, as godfearing parents, approve of.  It is a parents responsiblity to choose the friends of our children, and do this wisely!  Peer pressure has become the phenomenom it is today, because “parent pressure” has been virtually phased out.

This also leads me to my next post…A point has been brought up by a book I have just finished reading.  In western culture, the church also has lost its influence.  The church is filled with the corruption of the world and is no longer a guardian of morals.

But take heart…there is One that has overcome the world.  If we plant seeds in our children’s hearts and the love of the Lord Jesus Christ grows in them, they too can overcome the world.  Teaching them to recognise worldly influence in light of God’s Word will give them a point of reference in which to check their own lives and choices.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my Path.”  Psalm 119:105

I am greatful that my children have a heart for God.  I will tell them the truth and the truth shall set them free.

C.

My son (Master Ten) attended his friends ‘tenpin bowling’ birthday party on the weekend.  The friend’s mother, who is a good friend of mine, informed me, that five other boys had been invited, however, not one had telephoned to RSVP to the invite.  She assumed that no-one else would turn up, but she would have to pay for a party of eight regardless.  It so happened that two other boys did arrive…alone!  Their parents dropped them off in the car park and didn’t even come in to introduce themselves, or check that the party was in fact still on! 

If I had not advised that my son was coming – I would at least like to make sure that there was still a place for him to attend the party.  My friend had seriously considered cancelling the party after receiving only my son’s confirmation.  Had she done this, these two boys would have been sitting in the bowling alley for two hours, alone and unsupervised!! 

Given our society’s current moral state, I could imagine this happening for a teenager’s party but these 10 and 11 year olds are still “children” as far as I’m concerned, and should be under the care of an adult!!  Am I the only one who finds this astonishing??

There is NO WAY I would deliver my 10 year old child to a public venue, drop them off in the car park, to leave them to find a family that I had NEVER met, nor spoken to, and return over two hours later to collect them!

The fact that this was the arrangement made by two separate parents makes me wonder, is this the norm now?  Do people really consider this reasonable parenting?  How can you call this parenting at all?

It was a pleasure for me to remain at the party and see the children have a great time.  Due to the lack of numbers, we grown-ups became children for the afternoon and donned the attractive shoes for a bowl as well! 

As a parent, it is times like these which are the most pleasurable.  What a shame that some parents are willing to give up the joy of parenting.

Well, I was not really up for anything much last weekend – Miss Five Months has been keeping me up at night and prolonged lack of sleep is taking it’s toll on my ability to remain amiable and gracious.

I hate it when I have a bad attitude regarding DSS Master Four. I become very conscious of how unchristlike my attitudes and feelings are. I spent most of the weekend wrestling with my thoughts of negativity, and praying for God to help me show His love for DSS as I was feeling very little love towards him. I long for the day that I can look at DSS and love him for who he is, not look at him and see what he represents.

In the mean time, my Dear Mother-in Law has given me a scripture to hold on to, Matthew 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me.'” While I continue to ask God to change me and my heart, I will endeavour to look at DSS and see Christ. After all, DSS is a child of God, created by Him and loved by Him, planned for a purpose and fearfully and wonderfully made.

I guess, not only that, but God is using DSS to complete amazing character transformation of both myself and DH. May my character be transformed quickly, and may I be open to the lessons I must learn, that my heart be not continually troubled fortnightly. I see DH growing as a father through his relationship with DSS and for this I am truely grateful to God.

I desire to feel real love and kindness to DSS, that the love of God might be shown to him and felt by him whenever he comes to us. He comes from an unchristian home and is living completely “in the world”. It is imperative that when he is with us, he comes into contact with the living Christ, that he might know that there is true love for him, not conditional, not manipulative, but that he is loved for who he is. This is what I desire to display to DSS.

I can identify with Paul as he wrote in Romans 7:22-23 “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”

I know that this journey is a continual healing/learning process and I share this only to encourage; that we are not bound to our emotions, which do not always speak truth, but we may overcome them through the love of Christ. That we may fulfill our role as ambassadors of Christ, bringing Him to all the children placed in our lives.

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

Philipians 2:13 “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

I believe, that as we grow in God, he develops us into what He created us to be.  Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;”.  God plants dreams and desires within us, so that His will might be fulfilled on this earth.  As we mature in HIm, we become aware of God’s will in our lives, and as our desire to please Him grows, we will fulfill those shoes (or that’s the plan, right?)

I also believe, that children can be more aware of what God spent those nine months knitting into them, than what we may give them credit for.  They are not yet corrupted by what “the world” says should be desired and strived for. 

As they grow, we as parents, naturally desire “the best” for them, but what is that?  Is it “worldly” success? A great career? Friends and approval of others? Fame and fortune? They are all great in this world, but they do not stand up in “Eternity”.  What dreams do your children have? Are they small in the world’s eyes but large in God’s? 

My Master Nine, has always desired to travel and preach the Gospel.  I have always thought of this as a great aspiration, but have just been convicted of not nurturing this dream.  “Life” gets so busy and filled with all those things required in order to obtain “worldly success” that it would be easy for such a dream to be quashed in the daily grind.  Be careful to “train up a child in the way (God says) he should go”!

As a result of my conviction in this matter, we have started learning Chinese/Mandarin.  What joy and excitement it has brought!  What relief I feel in encouraging my son to keep his eyes fixed on God and what He may require him to do in the future!  There will be nothing else that can sustain him through the tumultuous teens, with all its emotions and changes, like keeping his eyes on the one who can see the end.

As a mother, it brings me great joy to know that God has a plan for my children.  It brings me even greater joy to see my children wanting to fulfill those plans.  Why would I encourage anything else?