When I first got saved, people would talk about their morning quiet time with God, and I thought they were Spiritual GIANTS! I mean really. Who could talk to God and read the bible for an hour every morning.
As time went on, I figured most people were lying about it... trying to get a little holier than though action.
Then I joined a church that held me accountable for my time with God. A 5:00 am phone call from the pastor's wife summoned me with "get out of bed, it's time to go talk with God." 60 + INTENSE minutes of on my knees prayer, on my pastors lead. I pressed, and pressed for miracles, not for relationship, but for a display of God's power. Did I grow? Heck yeah. I grew enough to hear God say "I don't want your prayers out of obligation and duty, I want your time because you love me.. oh, and leave that crazy church while you're at it."
This season was one of the most difficult spiritual time of my life. For the first time I heard God... I mean I HEARD God. He spoke to me in dreams, I heard his voice, I had visions. The experience made me into a full on believer of Spiritual gifts (where as before I doubted them) because I experienced them first hand. It scared me. God is big. SO BIG. Then to have God say, "leave this place. Your loyalty is off, you are you here for the wrong reasons".
I took a sabbatical from morning prayer. I would pray, but the formality and schedule were gone. I leaned on worship. I loved his presence, but honestly, I didn't want to talk anymore. The things of God were so much more intense, with so much depth, so much unknown. I was scared by his power. Scared of being THAT close. Scared of myself.
Then began a season of Spiritual shallowness. The less I talked to God the less I could hear his voice. "Yeah God, we can hang out, just don't talk to me about anything but shoes". That's where I would take my Christian friendships too. Don't go deep... it's easier to swim in the shallow end.
For three years I would "try" morning quiet time. "I'd wake myself up at dawn and try to create intimacy with my God, but I didn't know his voice anymore."
Worship was all I had. He was there, but I was STARVING for more. I wanted my "best friend" back, but I couldn't find him.
Then, I heard a small voice whisper "Go to my word, I'm waiting for you there." It started slow. I read, I prayed, with little "nuggets" of gold along the way, but nothing substantial. I had to really want it! So I persisted. I got up, and had an hour long "quiet time" not because I had to, but because I wanted to. And would you guess. THAT is where God met me. Not in the place of obligation, but in the place of love.
His miracles don't scare me anymore. I laugh with delight when I see his powerful hand, when I hear his voice. Sometimes our time is intense.. like before, but usually I just have coffee with him while he gently leads me through his word.
I finally get it.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
When I first got saved, people would talk about their morning quiet time with God, and I thought they were Spiritual GIANTS! I mean really. Who could talk to God and read the bible for an hour every morning.
Posted by ConservaChick at 8:57 AM
Monday, October 29, 2007
On Friday we had our annual Homeschool Harvest Festival. The kids had a blast, my husband came because I made him, and I (with a cold and a fever) sat around making foolish small talk with the other homeschool parents. The kids might have loved it, but for me... it was slow death. The things we do for our kids.
Posted by ConservaChick at 10:20 PM
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Tonight at dinner my oldest daughter was being a typical 11 year old (if you get my drift) and my younger daughter said "why is she like that?" My 7 year old son replied "because she's going through pooberty." Then my daughter asked "what's pooberty?" He then said in a very matter of fact tone, "it's where girls get all sassy, and boy's get their "man fur". Man fur? Just another typical conversation at our dinner table. ~Karlie
Posted by ConservaChick at 7:41 PM
Friday, October 26, 2007
I'm sure you've all read the verses in 1 Peter 3 1:6. It's the one where it says for wives to be in subjection to their husbands, have a meek and quiet spirit, etc. I believe we should always follow God, and that God wants us to submit to our husbands, but where.. WHERE do we draw the line? Is there a line?
I read an article today in the new Above Rubies about a woman whose husband wanted to live frugally, so he moved her (she was pregnant) into a two man tent in a park. She wanted a home, but instead ended up giving birth to her baby in a tub outside her tent. She now has two young children and is still roughing it with her husband. Was she wrong to want more? We live in America. Should we be content to live like those in a third world country, when we don't have to? How about her husband? Was he shirking his responsibilities by not providing better for his wife?
The article bothered me. I love my husband and try to submit, however if he CHOSE to move me into a tent and had me give birth in an outdoor tub, I'd be pissed off! We are not talking super broke, need to make the best of a situation here, but choosing this for your reluctant wife and children, it just seems wrong.
It's not just this article that makes me question submission in some circumstances.
I recently read Created to be his Helpmeet by Debbie Pearl. The book was helpful for me because I have a FANTASTIC husband! He is a great father, provider, and would never dream of taking advantage of my submissiveness. The biblical principle of submission works great in my marriage, because I am married to a Godly man.
I gave the book to my mother. My mother is an awesome Christian woman who has been devoted to my un saved father for over 30 years. My father is an alcoholic. He is mean, and abusive. He calls her names and has to control every aspect of her life. He puts down their children (that would be me and my brother) and gets angry when she spends time with us. He wont let her go to church, wont let her have friends, etc. He also gets angry at her if she won't drink with him (she's a diabetic and this is very dangerous for her health). Any freedom my mother gets, she has to get by putting her foot down. Se has to "disobey" my father's commands.
My mother read this book, and with prayer, decided to follow it. The results? My father thought he had more rights to bully my poor mother and fully alienate her from her family, her hobbies, etc. She cried to me one day. It's like a prison.. and I would rather die than live in it."
I told her to throw out the book and stand up for herself. What really is the line of submission? Does anyone know? Should my mother live in hell to obey the rule of submissiveness? Is that REALLY what God wants for her? I don't know, with tears of anger I scream I DON'T KNOW!
Praise God I don't have to bare what these two women must bare. Honestly, I'd be gone! I say I don't believe in divorce, yet that is easy to say because I have a great marriage. To spend my life with someone like my father? I don't think I could do it. I didn't do it. I ran away from home at 15, to escape him.
Where does God stand?
Posted by ConservaChick at 2:39 PM
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Every year we re-evaluate our stance on Halloween. With 11 child filled years behind us, we have had several years to consider the pros and con's. The outreach potential, the harm, etc. Honestly, we are no closer now than we were 11 years ago on deciding what is best for our family.
Some years we have trick or treated. Some we have done the "harvest festival" thing, many years we have rented movies, and ate candy... lots and lots of candy!
This year we are watching one of my daughter's friends during the day. This girl and her family are single handed proof that you can have AWESOME kids in the public schools. This girl made the choice to not go to school on Halloween because the spirit has convicted her about being apart of the Halloween school activities. She's 9! My kids would love the opportunity to participate in the "scary" Halloween stuff. I hope she rubs off on them.
Friday we have a homeschool party where the kids get to dress up and play games. As for Halloween itself? No clue. Do we hand out full size candy bars with tracts at my folks house? Do we rent a movie and visit with friends?
What are your plans for Halloween?
Posted by ConservaChick at 1:22 PM
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I'm stealing graceforgayle's idea. Rather that come up with new blog material this evening, I've decided to reach back into my homeschool blogger archives and pull out one of my old posts. Thanks for the ideas Gayle! ~K
Homeschoolers have always been stereotyped as "weird". I'm going to be honest here. It has bothered me that I was clumped in with a group known for being social misfits, having bad hair (my husband and I lovingly refer to it as "homeschool hair"), and strange attire (remember, I've always admitted to being a little shallow).
I will never forget my first visit to a homeschool support group. We saw all the stereo types. Boys in grey sweats, denim jumpers, doily collars, homeschool hair that should be illegal, AND.... a homeschooler in a cape. A CAPE! (We've often joked about that one over the years.)
We knew we were called to homeschool our kids, but this sensory overload was daunting to say the least. We obeyed the Lord and homeschooled, but spent the next 5 years trying to prove to the world, and ourselves, that we were not one of those homeschoolers. Homeschoolers can be hip and fashionable. They don't have to have odd interests, and a Lord of the Rings obsession.
OK, now that I've probably offended 1/2 of you, stay with me, I'm almost to the epiphany part.
Last Sunday, I met a lady at church (she's new to town) and we hit it off. She had a great personality, kids my kids age, and seemed like she had a strong relationship with the Lord. Best of all, she seemed so NORMAL. We exchanged numbers and agreed to talk more.
Yesterday we did just that. She talked about how much she loved her kids school. She raved about the well behaved kids and the involvement of the parents. OK, this sounded pretty good, so I asked, "what about the school teaching world views? Aren't you concerned about your kids being bombarded with evolution or the homosexual agenda?" (I get right to the point, can you tell?)
Her response floored me. "I want my children to accept diverse people and ideas, and not be so close minded". WOW! This lady had bought the liberal world view hook line and sinker! Then it occurred to me, this IS normal. It's normal for Americans (even church going ones) go against biblical truths in favor of a world view, it's hard to go against the grain! No one wants to be the weird one, right?
Epiphany time. I DON'T want to be normal! I want to go against the world's corrupt ideas and instead embrace the will of my God! If that makes me weird so be it.
Yesterday evening, my husband and I talked about the conversation I had earlier that day, and he said, "I'd much rather our kids befriend a homeschooler in a cape than a wishy washy Christian kids with a liberal world view."
So, here we are full circle. Suddenly that caped homeschooler isn't so bad, and normal doesn't look so good. I'd much rather have friends with substance and a firm relationship with the Lord, than be normal.
Finally I've made peace with the caped homeschooler, and in the process, I've made peace with myself. ~K
And do not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
Posted by ConservaChick at 8:09 PM
Saturday, October 20, 2007
What is it with boys and their clothes?
I love to shop, wear new things, accessorize. I'm really not that picky, it's just gotta look good. Comfort is second.
The men in my life are of a totally different persuasion. Fashion matters to them, but it's so SO wrong. My 7 year old son spent the last week in his boxers and a red cape because he thought he looked "cool". My brother wore a "security" shirt for three years straight because he thought that "chicks dig it". It was a lonely three years for the boy.
I also noticed that fashion comes w-a-y after comfort (it doesn't matter if the I accidentally bleached the black pants to a putrid brown," 'cause they are still SO comfortable").
Oh and they are so picky. My boys cry if they get anything from Gymboree. A sweater with a cute little train on the front? I might as well have brought them home a tutu! My manly boys will look at me like I've lost my mind! Now a camo shirt, that's more like it! But, goes so far beyond that. They have other weird "fashion" do's and dont's that would baffle any female mind.
One thing I just don't get... my boys HATE jeans. They actually are not fond of anything that does not look like the jogging suits they wear on the Sopranos (no they haven't seen it). They only like fabric pants... especially if the are "silky". Now they are sometimes forced to wear jeans, which they have re named "itchy wiener pants". They will cry and moan, and walk funny to dramatize their discomfort to the world, but hey, if their daddy can handle jeans... they can too.
Oh and church clothes.... right up there with the "itchy wiener pants." They hate them. They fight me every Sunday. "Mom, why can't I wear sweatpants and a muscle shirt? Instead I stuff them into khakis and the dreaded "COLLAR SHIRT" there is no torture like the shirt with a collar! Then I nicely spray their wild hair into submission with a respectable side part that would make any 70's car salesman proud. They argue "Jesus wore a robe to church, and I bet he'd like sweats too." I reply "honestly boys, I think Jesus is probably on your side, but Mama's not, so tuck in your shirt and don't even think about unbuttoning your top button on those pants."
By the time they get in the car, their hair is messed up, and they have managed to get mud on their pants, jelly on their shirts, and a few toy guns in their pockets. Yes... Sunday school teachers LOVE us.
Once church is over, we barely make it though the door and they strip down, right in the living room. Seriously. Nothing but tidy whities. Then they lay on the ground and roll around like a dog in the mud after a bath. They remain in this mostly naked state for several hours (to recover from the church clothes trauma I'm sure). Then it's back to the silky mafia inspired sweat pants.
I look back on the pictures of my brother as a kid and he's always go the same red sweats on. As he grew, the pants just shrank, until he looked like he was sporting a cute pair of capris (way before they came back in style). He would pair these bright red disasters with some random shirt with an Ewok or a Storm Trooper on the front and think he was the coolest kid to walk the earth.
My conservative dad got a pair of zebra striped parachute pants (remember MC Hammer?) in the 80's and wore them CONSTANTLY, until they mysteriously disappeared (thanks Mom). (I must say in my dad's defense that they were a gift, and I know he wore them for comfort, NOT fashion, but it just goes to show... no one survived the 80's unscathed.)
My husband has a pair of furry pants with little ducks on them. I think they are supposed to be for duck hunters or something, but I call them his "ducky pants". I don't understand the magnetic draw they have, but he's got them on within 30 seconds of walking in the door. It's like superman.... only faster. He doesn't want to talk, eat, NOTHING, until the suit is off and the pants come on. What's the deal?
They say clothes make the man, right? I certainly hope not.
Posted by ConservaChick at 10:16 PM
Sunday, October 14, 2007
This weekend I went to Women Of Faith. I'm sure you have all heard of it. I had an awesome weekend, however, the actual conference itself left me a bit disappointed.
I always like to start on a positive note, so...
The great parts:
A weekend with friends. Great food, great fellowship, shopping (I hit up Eddie Bauer and Gap outlets and made out like a bandit!), deep debates over religion well after midnight, and laughter. Lots of laughter. AND, none of that was at the conference!
The conference had it's good points too. Again, I laughed, and laughed , and... you get the picture. I heard some great stories, but really, that was about it.
The messages were VERY entertaining, but nothing I've not heard. There were no "wow, God is really speaking to me here" moments. I felt an undertone of , shall we say ... feminism. I guess a woman beating out her male co -workers to become the president of a bank, or a CEO of Mobil oil does NOT impress me, but I'm an old fashioned kind of girl.
I could overlook that, but there was one thing that really grated on me throughout the conference.
"Buy our books, if you buy 5 you get our discount, AND a free tote bag!" "If you adopt a child through World Vision AND use your credit card you can get this nifty shirt!" "Sign up now for your Women Of Faith credit card!" Yeah, that's in scripture. "Buy this CD". "Sign up for this other conference", etc, etc, etc.... The materialism was enough to make me want to barf! Between speakers they would put commercials on the big screen selling their "stuff". It was like the friggin' circus!
Did I walk away from Women of Faith with a few good nuggets? YES. It wasn't a bad experience, but I think my expectations were to high. I wanted great worship, and a fresh word. I didn't get that. Instead I got a sales pitch, and a message that I felt was tainted with a "world view" Javamama loves that word ( ;
I'm not against women working, I'm not against selling books at a conference, heck, I'm not even against credit cards used wisely. I guess I was just repulsed by the format they used.
Next year I'm going back, but I'm skipping the conference. My friends and I are going shopping, we are going to chow down on desserts, and stay up all night talking about shoes. We are going to find a church with great worship or go to a worship concert, then go back to the hotel, pull out our bibles and get our fresh word straight form the source. I'm going to hear testimonies from the "Women of Faith" in my very own hotel room. Then I'm going to write another post telling you all how great it was!
On a completely different note. My youngest son (he's 5) has decided he's a hardcore charismatic. At church today (keep in mind we are at a baptist church) he started to raise his hand (very cool... his rebel mama does the same thing despite the dirty looks she gets) Then both hands went up high, and he went into some odd goofy dance. At this point my husband and I were laughing pretty hard (probably the reason for the dance). Then he started laughing. Before we knew it the whole family was in hysterics (Toronto style) although I must admit it wasn't holy spirit induced. Finally an older gentleman looks at him and says "why are you so wild today?" His totally matter of a fact reply "'cause I've got rabies".
It was the best worship I've had at that church yet. Thank you God for my crazy children and husband who find humor in the driest moments!
On the way home my husband asked my children what they wanted for Christmas (I do NOT agree with Christmas talk before Thanksgiving, but too late, The "P" word (present) was mentioned and there is no going back now)... back to my story... my oldest daughter said "drums and a baby sister (boy is she out of luck this year) My second daughter said an Ipod (what do they think we are made of money or something?) and a baby sister. First born son "ipod, baby sister". I see a theme.
Now my five year old thinks for a moment. "I want a goatee, like daddy's, and some baby stickers." I give up.
Posted by ConservaChick at 8:59 PM
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Today as I woke up, I was summoned outdoors by a beautiful fall morning. I wrapped up in my soft pink robe (that has seen better days) and greeted the day on my rickety old front porch. A sudden wave of thankfulness hit me as I drew my first breath of crisp cool air.
God has provided blessing all around us, ones we often ignore. Yet my senses were heightened this morning to the vast array of his gifts around me.
Lord, I am thankful for:
Fall mornings, where the first splash of new color glistens on trees, like gold in the shifting sun.
To be greeted by my rust colored hound. His wet nose. His playful eyes. Unconditional love, where my just my presence... is enough.
Daddies and little boys up before dawn. Bundled and warm. Fishing stories and hot cocoa in a big grey truck. Watching the sun rise over the lake, poles in hands, eyes wide with anticipation. Powdered sugar smiles... evidence of breakfast still lingering on their sweet breath.
Husbands who leave a full pot of coffee for sleepy wives. Pumpkin pie creamer swirls with rich coffee in my favorite blue cup... a goodbye gift from precious friends. It reads He fills My Life With Good Things. Psalm 103:5. THANK YOU LORD!
The harvest waiting for me in my garden. An afternoon bounty of golden corn, juicy apples, and perfect pumpkins. Produce baskets overflowing, warm spicy smells from the kitchen, cinnamon candles, and the soft song of a flute, a practicing melody lingering behind my daughter's door.
Giggly girl sleepovers. Trampoline tricks after dark. Laughter that echoes in an endless rupture of glee. Pizza boxes and root beer stains. 5 sleeping girls who are not yet pining for their breakfast.
An old friend beside me. I can't see his face, but I know he is there. His handiwork is in the beauty of this morning. He is my father, my savior, my best friend. His endless love finds pleasure in delighting me with a morning like this... a moment like this. No words can describe this feeling of unmeasurable gratitude.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening.... You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. Psalm 92: 1-4
Posted by ConservaChick at 9:08 PM
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
As we raise our children, we often make their happiness our primary goal. I know that if my kids are not happy I will try to juggle, bend, and manipulate the situation until they are appeased.
Will this create positive fruit in my children? Just because a child has an appetite for something, is it always in their best interest to feed it?
My daughter wanted to go back to School. She threw a fit when she realized that we would be homeschooling her this year and my first impulse was to begin my child pleasing juggling act. Where would it end? Would I ultimately give in to her perceived agony, and go against God to appease her?
Oh, poor girl needs socialisation. She doesn't get the gratification of her name on the honor role, the rights of passage like prom. Think of the slumber parties she might be missing, the pep rallies, the lunchroom chatter, or the fully functioning science labs! How can I compete?
Thoughts like these are enough to make a tired homeschool mom with a messy house and a grumpy daughter throw in the towel! Then I look out a bit further. Am I raising cheerleaders, or ambassadors for Christ? Do I want to have my child graduate school and say "whew, we made it! They are not drug addicts or pregnant." Or do I dare to hope for more?
I want God's plan for my children. I want to see them grow up to be full functioning Christians. People who serve God, not their own appetites for "happiness" (because we all know where TRUE happiness comes from, and it's NOT from our flesh).
Looking at the big picture makes choosing to continue homeschooling so much easier. THIS is the path God has directed me to follow. THIS will be the path to reach our goal. What is my ultimate goal for my children? To love and serve our Lord! With that in focus... the other things just seem to fade away.
Posted by ConservaChick at 9:29 PM
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
OK, maybe a firm goodbye was too harsh. While I have very little time to blog right now, an occasional post is downright therapeutic (as is reading them).
So what brings me out of blog exile today? A lesson. Sometimes God speaks to you, it makes such a profound change in your heart, you NEED to write it down (and share it with others).
Yesterday I brought dinner to an old neighbor who was moving in to a new home. She had sold her Mc Mansion around the same time I sold mine. While we moved off to the country, she moved to a nearby city to a larger, more elaborate home. After a year, she was back.
Her new home was an old duplex on a busy road. She made a few excuses about the home, then started crying. She proceeded to tell me that when they moved into their "new" lifestyle, they suddenly realized they couldn't afford it. This mother with her three little children had to go back to work to help make house payments. After a year God provided an out. Their house that had been up for sale nearly the whole year finally sold, and a job opened up for her husband, back home.
As the tears welled in her eyes she said "I was never content. I always devalued my role as a stay at home mom, but when it's taken away from you, you suddenly realize how wonderful it is. Now I find joy in just being with my children, holding their hands."
I have started to feel the seeds of discontentment creep in. My old farm house is too small (2000 sq ft). The drive is to far (12 min). This town is too small (yet has little crime). I don't have enough friends (then who brought me several dinners when I wasn't feeling well?). Being a housewife is too un-gratifying (yet what is more gratifying than raising your own children?)
Now I close my eyes and imagine it. A big house in town, tons of shallow friends, working full time to support my over indulged lifestyle. Kids in school, then daycare, like they are not even mine. It sounds like hell. With our lack of contentment, Satan has tricked so many of us into our own personal hell on earth.
I put too much value on what is not important, and that breeds discontentment. I care too much about material things (houses, clothes, etc). Too much about my appearance (I've never been content with my weight, even at size 4, and no matter how hard I try, I'm never quite as pretty as I'd like to be... oh and aging makes the battle darn near impossible). While I seem to care less than most, people's negative opinions can still affect me, .... And God whispers "let it go". "Let It ALL Go!"
Every season, I feel like God gives me a theme; words and lessons that revolves around a particular area in which I need growth. This season through much prayer and confirmation, I believe my "theme" is "how to die to my flesh". While my Christian walk has been laced with that principle, I feel like God wants to help me reach new levels in my "death walk". Sounds morbid? No, sounds like freedom.
The first step? To learn the value of contentment.
Posted by ConservaChick at 7:35 AM