Yesterday, hundreds of women sent this post about motherhood to one another through email, Facebook, and twitter.

Around dinner time, my sister called as I was peeling potatoes at the kitchen sink. She thanked me for writing, and said that my words often help her navigate motherhood as a missionary in the roughest part of a big city. I told her I was glad, but in truth, I was just obeying the echoes of my high school English teacher to “write the truest thing you know”. We wondered together why so many women seemed to have resonated with the day’s post. My sister said, “I think that we need this type of encouragement because motherhood is so difficult – even for women who have relatively smooth roads. We need to strengthen and build each other up day after day.”

I think she’s right.

To help you and I daily consider the true value of our work as mothers, my generous and gifted friend Ashley Munn transformed my post into this graphic that you may print, post, and share.

May the Lord bless you in your motherhood and bless you in your today.

 

Today

Posted in All Posts, Motherhood | Leave a comment

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As a mother of young children, sometimes I wonder…

What if I got to the end of my day and actually felt like I accomplished something?

What if I didn’t feel like I had been derailed and distracted all day long?

What if I knew for a fact that my time and energy went toward something constructive? 

Wouldn’t that be nice. Do you ever feel the same way?

As it turns out, I think these desires are accessible; it’s just a matter of thinking correctly.  Lately, I’ve been noticing that discouragement, worthlessness, and discontentment grow out of the misconception that our real work is everything-except-mothering.

Imagine if you and I awoke each day thinking accurately: that our real work is mothering. Not only that, but imagine if we were honest about the job description and consciously surrendered to the cost of love.

What if we went into the day anticipating all of the hard work

I think we’d see motherhood for what it is and would feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment at the end of the day, don’t you?

If I, for one, began my day with this in mind, I wouldn’t be so shocked, dismayed, inconvenienced, or annoyed by my children’s needs, childishness, and idiosyncrasies. Instead, I’d realize that all of these “inconveniences” and “distractions” are important aspects of my job; that they’re not “inconveniences” or “distractions” after all. In fact, they’re the very essence of a lovely, worthwhile motherhood.

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Choosing to think more accurately about my calling – one morning at a time – will change everything about how I evaluate my day.

“Today…

there will be injuries I must soothe,

there will be arguments that I must moderate,

there will be something broken that I must fix,

and something lost that I must find.

There will be frequent hunger pangs that I must satisfy,

and thirst that I must quench.

There will be spills that I must clean up, bottoms that I must wipe, accidents that I must change, and illnesses that I must treat.

Today, there will be offenses I must forgive,

forgetfulness I must overlook,

and hundreds of questions that I must answer.

There will be boundaries that only I can uphold

and schedules that only I care to keep.

There will be disorder that I must pull together,

dismay that I must comfort,

and disrespect that I must address.

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Today…

people will yell for help passionately – urgently – demanding my presence. I must run to the rescue. Sometimes, I’ll discover a legitimate emergency, but most of the time, it will be the smallest complaint that will melt with a kiss.

Today…

there will be someone to carry,

someone to dress,

someone to help up,

and someone to hold up.

There will be someone to teach,

someone to inspire,

and someone to appreciate.

Today, there will be someone asleep whom I must wake up,

and there will be someone awake, whom I must help sleep.

There will be injustices I must make right,

meanness I must restrain,

kindness I must encourage,

memories I must treasure,

and goodness I must celebrate.

Today, there will be wrongs to confess, sinners to love, a Savior to worship, and grace to receive.

Today, my work as a mother strangely and beautifully resembles God’s work as our Heavenly Father.

Today, my occupation is His occupation; my service, His own.

And today, if this is all I accomplish, I must fall asleep feeling quite satisfied indeed.

Today, I can do these anticipated tasks with joy and gratitude, because God Himself wakes me up in the morning, feeds me with the Living Bread, gives me good work to do, soothes my weary heart, and runs to my rescue whenever I call for help.

 

Posted in All Posts, Motherhood | 9 Comments

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(Here’s our preschooler, acting out Peter Rabbit…)

It’s Preschool-Sign-up Season in our town and young parents are trying to figure out the best educational option for their children. Recently, several young mothers have asked me to tell them the basics about homeschooling.  When we sit down to chat and I reflect on my experiences as a homeschooling mother, I realize that the most important things for the preschool years are not distinct to homeschooling, but are applicable to every mother. (However, I can testify from personal experience that these 3 concepts are hugely beneficial to homeschooling, specifically.)

So, in my opinion, here are 3 of the most important things for a mother to do – especially when she’s considering homeschooling:

  1. Most importantly, instead of getting distracted by workbooks, projects, and curriculum for your child, invest as much time and energy in your personal growth as a woman, wife, and mother. 

Develop your relationship with God. Dig into Scripture whenever you can: study it, meditate on it, memorize it, sing it, listen to it, and surround yourself with friends who love it. Learn to pray alone and with friends. Your life is not your own; learn what it means to walk daily with the Lord.

This is also the season to read and study about Christian womanhood and to learn how to love your husband and nurture your children. I always suggest that young women read as much as they can from Sally Clarkson. Listen to her podcasts, subscribe to her blog, and let her encouragement soak into your heart. Regarding a child’s development and education, I also suggest reading material by Charlotte Mason and Maria Montessori. Both women offer extremely valuable insights about the nature of childhood and our significant calling as mothers. 

Examine your daily rituals and figure out where you need to grow: Do you need to learn more about nutrition and cooking? Do you need to learn more about finances and design a budget? Do you need to develop faithful and beneficial friendships? Do you need to learn how to manage your time? Do you need to find an exercise habit that works well for your schedule and benefits your body? This is the time to open your eyes, make a plan, and learn. (If homeschooling is in your future, believe me, every ounce of skill and good habit that you’ve established will smooth the road ahead. Even if you do not formally “homeschool”,  you’ll be infinitely stronger for having these practical skills on hand.)

Ask God to heal you where you are hurting and to mature you where you are weak. Perhaps God would bless you by addressing sin now that would otherwise have caused you to waste many years in regret. Ask Him! He loves you and will sanctify you perfectly. God alone can perfectly equip you for the days ahead.

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2. Secondly, invest in your relationship with your children by building a joyful home, introducing them to their Maker, and developing their character. These things are far more important than academics.  The way I look at it, if you have faithfully built a happy home and have developed good character in your children, your entire family – including you – will thrive in every area of life. 

We want our children to have strong, godly character for many reasons. First, because it glorifies God. Secondly, because it will bring our children true happiness and favor. Third, because it makes our home joyful and peaceful. Fourth, because it sets our children up for goodness regardless of circumstances. For example, I often consider the depth of character my children would need if they suddenly have to attend the local public school. What if they are behind academically? What if they are ahead? What if they are socially rejected? What if they are socially idolized? Regardless of how they fare academically or socially, I want my children to have the character that allows them to adjust to changes gracefully, to sit in their desks and work diligently, to respect their teachers, and to be kind to the other students.

These types of things are in the forefront of my mind as I make decisions for our homeschool experience. Worksheets, checklists, lessons, and tests take a backseat to the character that is being developed day by day. Don’t get me wrong, worksheets and lessons are often the ground on which their character is developed, but my eye is always on the outcome of character beyond the correct answers or successful performance.

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3. Finally, regardless of what current academic trends and publishing companies promote, learn what children truly need and focus on that. I believe that children need these few things to thrive: love, discipline, healthy sleep, healthy food, plenty of outdoor play, and consistent exposure to beauty – including nature, literature, music, and art. If you make this golden list your preschool curriculum, you and your children will do well.

If you take these 3 suggestions to heart, you will have established a strong foundation and built life-giving habits that are necessary for a happy homeschool.

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(A Peter Rabbit lunch… complete with parsley for anyone feeling “rather sick”.)

These are the things I talk about when friends ask about homeschooling and young parents are making their first decisions about education. I recommend that they consider how they’ll be able to pursue these ideals this semester… this year. It’s always great if they can find the places where they agree with their husbands and proceed from there. Then, we all face next year’s decisions when that time comes, knowing that we and our families will be stronger and happier for the year we invested so wisely.

If you are in the process of making decisions about your child’s education, I hope for your best! Most of all, do not be anxious about anything, but pray about everything. Then, the peace of God will guard your heart and your mind (and your children!) in Christ Jesus.

Posted in All Posts, Homeschooling, Motherhood | 3 Comments

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(Photo credit)

I’m not a worrier by nature, but when things quiet down at the end of the day, if there is anything to worry about, that’s when I worry. I think about the many ways I ruined my children through the day; I worry about their health and development; I think about the things I wish I’d said or done; and I worry that I’m not supporting my husband, my family, and my friends as much as I could.

One particular night, my thoughts were caught up in a cyclone of worry. My thoughts swirled round and round about the same unknowns, with a darker and darker view of life.

I knew that my only escape from the whirlwind would be to think about something true. But, truth is hard to come by in the midst of a worry cyclone. I wracked my mind for something – anything – true.

That’s when the most unassuming Scripture came to mind.

It wasn’t a comforting Psalm, nor an instructive Proverb. It wasn’t one of Jesus’ encouraging “I am…” statements. Surprisingly, this bit of truth that found me in the midst of my cyclone was from a genealogy.

Like a scrap of newspaper caught up in the wind, this bit of truth fluttered its way through the whirlwind and stuck to the forefront of my mind:

There was a woman named Ruth. She had a son named Obed.

“Really?” I thought. “That’s my truth? That’s my escape from the cyclone of worry??”

(I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised, because we’ve been studying the book of Ruth in our women’s Bible study, but I was hoping for something a bit more… heroic.)

However, I was desperate, so I chose to hold onto that little (humble) bit of historical truth. I meditated on it over and over again: There was a woman named Ruth. She had a son named Obed. There was a woman named Ruth. She had a son named Obed. 

Miraculously and lovingly, the Holy Spirit used it to guide me out of my worries and into the truth. He reminded me that God cared for Ruth when she was a poor, foreign, widow seeking refuge “under His wings”. He reminded me that “He gave her conception”, that He developed her baby in the womb, and brought that baby to birth; that He gave Ruth’s son Obed life, meaning, and legacy. Ultimately, he reminded me that He is the same God today, and He will love and protect me as ardently as He loved and protected Ruth and Obed.

Through those two sentences – straight out of a genealogy – God reminded me that He is sovereign over all life, that He is trustworthy, and that He loves me. Isn’t it amazing that all of that encouragement was packed into one little bit of truth?

That night, the storm of worries ceased. For, there was a woman named Ruth

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete,equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3: 16-17

Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope!
117Hold me up, that I may be safe
and have regard for your statutes continually! – from Psalm 119

 

Posted in All Posts, Bible Teaching, The Book of Ruth | Leave a comment

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We were at Great Wolf Lodge – the indoor waterpark – when I saw my look-alike. A woman on vacation; a woman stressed out.  I could relate. Her son had (more than) everything he needed – cute surfer suit, rash guard, goggles, swimmer’s ear head wrap, and flotation device. She had thought of it all! He was ready for a good time! Except, his mom was miserable.

The woman was snapping at her husband, hovering irritably over her son, and snubbing her own mother who was along to help. I could feel the tension in the chlorinated air.  Sometimes vacations – sometimes life in  general – can be plain old miserable and tense.

The family begrudgingly grabbed water tubes and trudged up the steps to the giant slide. On the way up, the woman was clearly irritated with the way her husband’s tube kept bumping into her face and she couldn’t stand that her mother was trying to assist her in getting up the steps. “Yep, been there, done that. She hates herself right now,” I thought.

Two minutes later, one by one, the family began popping out through the bottom of the slide into the pool. I couldn’t believe my eyes: each and every person was beaming! Hooting! Smiling!

The woman who went up the steps miserable and stressed, came down light and happy.

(Oh, and get this: they gave each other high fives! HIGH FIVES!)

They were a happy family again.

I couldn’t help but wonder what happened inside that slide. My best guess is that the adrenaline shook off their funk. The waterslide was fun and surprising; it got their blood pumping; it was just what they needed.

I learned a big secret from this family: When I’m in a funk, I should look for a waterslide! I should have fun, do something refreshing, see something inspiring, and get my blood pumping. As a wife and mother, I should look for waterslides for my whole family, keeping my eye open for ways to spunk things up when they’re looking low.

Here are a handful of very simple “waterslides” that have changed everything recently:

  • One tense evening, Ryan and I were having one of those “same old same old” arguments that every marriage has from time to time. He says his lines, I say mine. This time, I decided to trash the script. Mid-sentence, I jumped into his arms and said, “You’re right!” (Hehe… surprise!)  Tension: gone. Happy marriage restored. (The best thing about this one time decision is that we’ve never returned to this particular script ever again.)
  • It was a dreary week when I was feeling tired and overworked. (You know the kind of week when one day blurs into the next?) Ryan sent me to a coffee shop for the evening knowing that the jazzy music, the delicious latte, and Jan Karon’s latest book were precisely what I needed.  Dreariness: gone. Inspired woman restored.
  • The other day, the kids were dragging along, stir-crazy because of cold weather. We turned on the music and played whole-house everyone-plays hide-and-seek. Slump: unslumped. Content home restored.

Of course, adrenaline, surprise, and fun don’t fix every problem – not at all – but sometimes they’re just the boost we need to remember that we’re human… and that goes a long way.

Start climbing the steps to that waterslide today…

 

Posted in All Posts, Marriage, Motherhood | Leave a comment

When I went through one of the most difficult seasons of my life, my dearest mentors would not recommend any books to me. But I love books! I wanted advice on how to grow and wisdom on what to do. I wanted to change, improve, and control the situation; I thought books would help me get through the struggle faster.

But my friends just smiled and shook their heads.  Nope. We have no book recommendations for you.

Instead, they advised me to come to God every day and ask one question: “What do you want me to do with my heart today, Lord?”

They said I could – should – have only one book open: the Bible. And should wait for God’s guidance, correction, comfort, and teaching.

So for 40 days, that’s all I did: I’d ask the Lord my question and seek His answer through Scripture and through the Holy Spirit’s guidance in my heart.

Now, many years later, I can see that Jesus provided for me and helped me to grow in marvelous ways that no other resource or human being could have done. How grateful I am for that advice: to daily seek God.

I still love helpful books (and have benefited from many, many!), but I needed to remind myself today that God Himself is my counselor and His Word is the perfect light for my path.

Human wisdom is helpful to a degree, but daily fellowship with God is life changing.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah – Psalm 62:8

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“Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.”

Posted in Bible Teaching | 1 Comment

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One summer, we gathered some friends around the campfire to make s’mores. I was in the lawn chair of honor as the Mom with the Marshmallow Bag.  All the kids hovered around me like I was a YouTube clip on a cell phone. (Kids these days…) Each of those sun-kissed kids passionately wanted marshmallows… and each one of them wanted to be first.

Except for Dylan.

In the midst of a dozen little hands reaching in for marshmallows, 5 year old Dylan said, “I can go last” and took his place in the back of the group. 

This was huge.

This was significant.

This was universe-altering.

In my memory, even the lightening bugs paused to absorb what he had just said: “I can go last.” 

(The thing that struck me the most was how he said it: he said it as if it were an ability or a skill he had learned. He said it like a gymnast who had been trained to do a backflip. After hours of practice and instruction, a gymnast could say, “I can do a backflip.” Or, like a trained medic who answers the desperate plea, “Does anyone know CPR?!” with “I can do CPR.” With all the confidence in the world, he said, “I can go last.”) 

Those four words changed my life.

For the past 3 years, my kids and I have talked about that moment a lot. They were there – getting their marshmallows before Dylan – and they think he was amazing, too: wow, to offer to go last when the fire is crackling and the summer stars are singing and the chocolate is waiting… it is nothing less than heroic.

Now, everyone in our family wants to be like Dylan and say, “I can go last” in those moments when it’d be awesome to go first. 

So, we talked about it one day and wrote down some examples of when it’s hard to go last: when we’re nervous, when we’re hungry, when we’re really excited about something, and when we want something.

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We talked about what makes going last great: it allows someone else to go first and get the kick we wanted for ourselves. More than that, it’s one small way we can live like Jesus did: didn’t He often putting Himself last when He deserved be first?

No wonder Dylan said, “I can go last” like it was a golden opportunity.

Then, one of the kids pointed out that it’s equally as hard to go first sometimes. So, we added it to the chalkboard and listed some real-life examples: it’s hard to go first in being friendly, answering questions in class, and being the first one to do something scary.

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This is the real stuff of laying our lives down for one another: the day-by-day, tangible examples when it all becomes real.

These strengths – of going first and going last – are superpowers. We can’t lay our lives down well or consistently without help from God Himself who goes first when it’s inconceivable and goes last when it seems impossible. And He will certainly help us.

“We love because He first loved us…” 1 John 4:19

“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Posted in Homeschooling, Motherhood | Comments Off on 2 Superpowers for Every Kid: “I can go first.” “I can go last.”

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Did you know that there was a nameless person in history who caused a ripple of events that ROCKED THE WORLD simply by sharing a bit of good news with a foreign widow? 

Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food.” – Ruth 1:6

Though Naomi had been living apart from God and His people for well over 10 years, when she heard the news that God had visited Israel – that He had reversed the famine and given them food – she packed up her bags and returned to her hometown of Bethlehem.

Why this sudden change of plans after all this time?

Didn’t she know that in leaving the Promised Land to dwell in Moab, she had disobeyed God? Didn’t she know that when her Israelite sons married Moabite women, they became serious rebels? Didn’t she know that God had afflicted the Promised Land with a famine because of disobedience like this??

She must have known the law given to Moses – the blessings for obedience, the curses for disobedience that we read in Deuteronomy 28. (Maybe that’s exactly what kept her in Moab for all those years: maybe she was afraid of a God who could clear out the hen house and dry up the bread bowl in a moment of judgement. I wouldn’t blame her if she just didn’t want to face Him in light of her choices.)

But then something about that news-in-the-field changed her Moab-dwelling mind and sent her journeying back to Bethlehem.

I think that when she heard Yahweh had visited Israel and reversed the famine, she remembered something crucial about God’s character that she had forgotten over the years: I think that the news reminded her of God’s kindness, His mercy, His forgiveness.

Of course, these things about God’s character were also recorded by Moses in the same breath as the blessings and curses associated with the law. We read about them in Deuteronomy 30.

Knowing His people would obey and disobey, God promises,

“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you, and he will gather you again fro all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you… The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground…”   

Yahweh – the God of Israel – would receive the repentant sinner.

Yahweh would receive Naomi.  After all the years – the losses and the regrets – Naomi remembered that God would keep all of His promises, including the promises to forgive.

God’s true character – His judgement and His mercy – gives Naomi the courage and faith to return home, to return to Him.

I don’t want to spoil the story if you’ve never read the book of Ruth before, but you’ve gotta hear this to whet your appetite: because Naomi returns to Bethlehem, the Messiah is born generations later.

There’s much to learn from the book of Ruth, but for right now, let’s just savor the good news: God has visited His people and given them food!

We now know what this announcement truly means: God has visited us through Jesus Christ, the Son of God who became flesh and dwelt amongst us, taking on our sin, and giving us His righteousness. Jesus said He himself is our food – the Bread of Life. He said that simply believing Him will sustain our souls forever.

Jesus also said that if we live solely off of ordinary bread, we’ll die. But if we believe and obey God’s Word, we will live. He said that we desperately need Scripture; it’s the daily bread that God provides for all His children.

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Tell someone in your field the good news. 

Tell him that when you repented, God forgave you.

Tell her that though you had nothing, He has given you everything.

Tell him! Tell her! Because who knows?  Your good news may be the very thing that sends your friend packing, returning to God.

Posted in All Posts | Comments Off on What Makes a Person Turn Back to God? (An Introduction to the book of Ruth)

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After breakfast, all the kids grab their shoes and coats for “Audrey’s walk”. She’s our littlest girl and we give her the first hour of the day. We make sure she gets fresh air, a little stretch-of-the-legs, a few nursery rhymes and a few songs about Jesus.

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Each step with Audrey is a baby step. I walk slowly by her side, holding her hand, remembering that these little, slow steps are valuable because she is valuable. I love these morning strolls.

Sometimes, the older kids grab bikes and scooters. They zip down the sidewalk and return again. Sometimes, they fall off their bikes (one little boy, in particular) and wait until Audrey and I – step by step – catch up to them and get them back on their feet.

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We pass by our neighbor’s prolific rose bush. Even in these late months, the roses continue to bloom and thrive. We stop and admire it every day.  I gather the children around and show them how the rose bush is different today: things have changed.

Look kids… today’s bloom was yesterday’s bud!

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They ooh and aah.

We can see the dramatic change – the opening, the growing, the beauty – and they marvel with me. We’re happy for that little-bud-all-grown-up.

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And look, kids… yesterday’s bloom has changed, too. It is shrinking, losing its vibrant color.

(“And yet,” my oldest daughter points out, “it is beautiful. And it still smells so good!”)

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While I have their attention, I say, “People are like these blooms. We’re all at different stages in life. And we’re all changing from day to day.

Some of us are just starting out, just beginning.  

Some of us are in our prime, the most beautiful we will ever be.

And, some of us are coming to the end of our lives here on earth.

The most important thing to remember is that no one knows which one they are.

My dear little children, how then should we live?”

With great love for our Maker and for one another!

We should bloom and enjoy it!

We should glorify God in every season! With every minute He gives us!

We should take time with people whose steps are slow.

We should go slowly and see the world anew.

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And, (as Audrey hitches a ride on Vivienne’s scooter), we should invite others to zip along with us, figuring out a way to help them feel the wind in their hair and the joy of the ride.

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So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!

– selections from Psalm 90

Posted in All Posts, Character Training, Early Elementary Education, Learning at Home, Motherhood, Physical Activity, Preschool, Things to Say | Comments Off on What I Teach My Children About Time

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(Our little boy watering sunflowers at a nearby arboretum.)

It’s one thing to repent of idolatry.

It’s another thing to repent of worshiping God as if He were an idol.

Lately, this has caught my attention.

When God delivered the Israelites from Egypt and led them to the Promise Land, He told them that they must not worship Him the way other people worship their gods.

“Be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things that the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.” – from Deut. 12

Biblical history shows that the Israelites struggled with this, including Jephthah – the Judge who offered his daughter as a burnt sacrifice as a means of worshiping God. Though Jepthah was serving God and praying to God, he was thinking like a Canannite.

His mistake had devastating consequences.

It’s easy to see the error of Jephthah’s ways, but I’m discovering that I do the same thing.

I find that my worship of God is often inspired and informed by the way the world worships its gods. Perhaps we all do this from time to time. Perhaps we think,  “If the world is sacrificing holiness, covenantal relationships, and familial responsibility to serve Achievement, Fame, and Money, I’ll offer the same thing to God. He’ll love it.” That sounds a bit extreme, but after some soul-searching, we may discover that it is how we think more often than not.

It’s possible that when we think we’re worshiping God, we’re really just giving Him something that he hates.

I have been worshiping God this way for far too long and I am humbled by the realization.

For me, it sometimes looks like this: instead of offering my love for writing and teaching to God in the context of His character and His laws, I strive to offer them to Him the way the world offers them to its gods. I sacrifice my prayer time, my Bible study, my marriage, and my children to offer God something “Bigger! Better!”

All the while, the Holy Spirit convicts and warns me, “Imagine what could die if you offered that unnecessary sacrifice!” 

Jephthah’s tragic worship is a mirror to my soul.

I need to constantly renew my mind, to remember what God truly wants from His worshipers.

This one aspect – worshiping God in the way He wants – affects every single thing in our lives. For me, it determines how I interact with my husband, how I mother my children, how I invest in our local church, how I spend time with my friends, what I read, what I write, how I work, what I play, and how I live.

These 2 questions bring me back to worshiping God as God. Their answers are our soul’s food and drink day after day; our understanding of them will never reach a limit.

  1. What is God’s character?
  2. What are God’s laws?

So, we open up our Bibles with prayerful hearts… and worship God as God.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2

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