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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 | Leave a comment

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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

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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

Posted in All Posts, Bible Teaching, Marriage, Motherhood | 5 Comments

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(Three of God’s great gifts to me…)

‘You know when God seems to place a word or idea everywhere you look?

That’s how it’s been with me and repentance. I’m still thinking about it, especially while we’re still studying the book of Judges.

It’s not easy to repent of idolatry because it’s not easy to spot idols.

I want to share the 2 questions that help me to identify the idols that lure me away from Jesus:

  1. What will make everything better?

    In my private thought-life, from moment to moment, what do I really think will satisfy my cravings, heal my wounds, and save the day? This is my hope; it’s what I think will rescue me. If it is not Jesus, it is an idol and it will not rescue me the way I think it will. I find that I often rely on Comfort, Achievement, or Affirmation to make everything better.What is it for you?
  2. What makes you feel oppressed and crushed?Interestingly, every time the Israelites worshiped another nation’s gods, that nation enslaved and crushed them – often for years. Instead of quickly identifying their idolatry as the cause of their infliction, they often immersed themselves further into idol worship. Perhaps they were hoping that the idols would make everything better (sound familiar?). Could their idols reach out and save them? No. Instead, the opposite occurred: the hand of their oppressor WAS the hand of their idol. 

    I considered this pattern and did some soul searching: What consumes me? What stresses me out? What crushes my passion for Christ and joy for living? My answers often lead me to an idol. For example, sometimes I feel stressed-out, over-worked, over-stimulated, and over-committed to goals, ideals, and tasks. Under all of that oppression is my longing for Achievement. I want Achievement so badly that I’ll surrender many things to its appetite. Yet, I always feel overwhelmed by its demands and I can never quite grasp Achievement sufficiently.The worst part is that when I’m fixated on Achievement, the gifts God has given me seem like obstacles and distractions instead of, well, gifts.

    It took me days to meditate on these questions and prayerfully repent. I used Psalm 51 as a guide, reminding me that God loves a broken and contrite heart. I hope I’ll continue to live in repentance, constantly turning away from the world and turning toward Jesus.

    You’ll love the model of the Apostle Paul’s repentance: he said that his serious addiction to self-righteousness, false piety, appearance, and achievement were garbage compared to worshiping and knowing Jesus. (You can read about it in Philippians 3:4-11). He’s right: when we repent of idols, we not only cast aside the worldly destractions, but we also gain the joy of treasuring Christ. We realized that there is no comparison.

    When Jesus is on the rightful throne of my heart, all is well.

    I’m sharing this with you in hopes that you may enjoy a time of repentance, too. Will you let me know about it? 

     

Posted in All Posts, Bible Teaching, Judges, Motherhood | 1 Comment

This month, as I studied the story of Jephthah – one of Israel’s judges – I had to put down my pen, stop filling in the study guide blanks, and sit long with God. There were things tucked in that story that needed my real-time response; there were things that I could only learn through private and open conversation with our Heavenly Father.

For five months, I had been extensively studying Israel’s cyclical return to idolatry, yet I had not yet once repented of my own idolatry. How sobering to be stopped with my pen poised in the air, ready to complete my Bible Study homework, when the Holy Spirit had to grab my attention and point out my oversight. Yet, how beautiful and good it was to repent and receive God’s forgiveness.

Do you need to stop everything and repent of idolatry today?

In this lesson, I share 4 things that every Christian must do in order to thrive, including repent. I recently taught this lesson at our weekly women’s Bible Study. (We’re studying Judges this year, using Jen Wilkin’s wonderful study guide and audio lessons. I prepare a lesson once a month to learn more about teaching the Bible; this one focuses on Judges 11:29-40, the story of Jephthah’s vow.)

I’d be honored if you’d join me as I share what I learned about this Old Testament story (including what historians consider the first annual women’s conference) and how it applies to our lives today.

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After the lesson, my friend Kimberly led us in Be Thou My Vision.

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And, here’s a link to a lesson on Judges 5: Deborah and Barak’s Victory Song.

May you and I worship the one true God together.

 

Posted in All Posts, Bible Teaching, Judges | 2 Comments

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“God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

– from Ephesians 2

This summer, when we moved into our new home, I was outside making sense of the flowerbeds when I heard someone say, “Hello, Laura! Welcome to the neighborhood!” That’s when I met Heather Holleman, the author of the lovely, profound, impactful book, Seated with Christ.

Heather and I were friends from that very first moment. As we exchanged our first hellos, Heather said, “Don’t worry, I normally look way cuter than this.” I considered my weeding scrubs and said, “Oh, me, too!” Ours is a budding friendship, but it’s a delightful one that spans all topics from cuteness to Christlikeness.

Seated with Christ is hot off the press and beginning to make its way to people all over the world. I’m convinced that it will make a profound impact on the Church as women (and men) read it; our minds will be renewed and we’ll remember our great calling in Christ.

I highly (highly, highly) recommend this book to you. In case you don’t know Heather, I’ll fill you in: she is a “walking exclamation mark” and she is 100% genuine to her message. She is an inspiring example of a woman who actually lives seated with Christ. But, when you read Seated with Christ, you won’t be focused on Heather, you’ll be focused on Jesus Himself.

She writes, “When we see ourselves this way — as seated at the table and called to complete the tasks God assigns us — we stop working so hard for acceptance. We stop caring about prestige. We no longer need to make a name for ourselves, because we’re completely absorbed in Christ and the kingdom. In this setting, we cease measuring ourselves against any other person. Why would we? We have our own seat, our own calling, and our own tasks. Plus, we’re interdependent with one another, seated all together to make a holy dwelling place.” (p. 29)

You’ll love it…

 

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Last night was the first time in history that I sent one of our kiddos to bed without a bedtime snack. For our 4-year-old son – the one with the hearty appetite – this was devastating.

The historical punishment came at the end of a long day of whining; the kind of day in which I was scrambling to satisfy everyone without much success. So, when my bedtime buffet (!) of a big bowl of popcorn, apple slices, roasted almonds, AND chocolate coconut cookies wasn’t good enough for that sweet boy, I snapped.

Watch out. Momma’s mad.

If this snack isn’t good enough for you, you get no snack at all.

Up to bed with you, son.

As he trudged up the stairs, that boy cried.  He was sorry in a million ways: sorry for his growling stomach, yes, but also sorry for his disrespectful attitude. I know he loves me and feels crushed when he has done something wrong. I checked in to see how he was doing in his bedtime prep. He was bawling while brushing his teeth. (Have you ever done that? Not easy.)

Once he crawled in bed, I walked over and held him in my arms. He settled in and settled down.

Eventually, I said,

“Look, son, you cannot live your life always wanting more than what is offered to you. If you always want the sweetest dessert, the biggest gift, the best seat, the most toys, the funniest movie, and the most exciting friends, you will explode. We were not created to get the biggest and the best all of the time. Even though we feel like we want it, we will die if we live like that. Learn this while you’re young: be content with what you have. When someone gives you food, it’s good enough. Eat it gratefully.”

He nodded his adorable head.

I set our Kindle on his nightstand so he could listen to Scripture lullabies as he went to sleep. (Something had to drown out that rumbling tummy! Besides, like all of us, his longing for the biggest and best can only be filled by God. I knew these Words would renew his heart and mind.)

Later, Ryan and I sat on the couch downstairs, discussing the day. I asked, “Did you get that email?” He knew exactly what I was talking about. We had both received a shocking newsletter from a blog that we’ve recently discovered. This email changed our minds about the author entirely. The content was terrible – pornography sent to our inboxes. We both admitted that the content was like a snare; we read more than we would have liked because we were trying to figure it out: we were lost in a what is this?? fog.  In short, the email contained a story from a man who is on a mission to get the best for himself: his project is to blend the best of monogamy and promiscuity.  He revealed his insatiable appetite for the newest, most beautiful, youngest, most scandalous, most exciting sexual life possible. Besides, he said, scientists have proven that monogamy is boring and not natural.

Our first impulse was to push against his conclusions, to say, “Monogamy’s the awesomest! You have no idea.” We wanted to prove that it’s the best, most exciting, most beautiful experience – way better than his anything-goes clubs.

But is it?

Isn’t part of monogamy’s beauty that it’s free of superlatives? That it’s good enough

Isn’t part of monogamy’s goodness that two humans have made a supernatural choice to be satisfied with one another.

To enjoy the newness, the oldness, the beauty, the average, the exciting, the not-so-exciting moments of loving one person day after day after day.

To stop hungering for the superlatives out there.

To humbly say, “I’m content with this sweet thing at home.”

I see a beauty in monogamy that far outshines promiscuity, but it requires a strength and courage that only God can give.

I thought about my words to the hungry little boy upstairs – who by now is sleeping peacefully – and I thought, I need to repeat this lesson for him day after day after day. I need to teach him how to say, “Thank you. I’m content with what you have given me.”

May God give each of us – me, Ryan, and the boy who will eat a GINORMOUS breakfast today – the strength and courage to say those words about all things, forever. And may we turn our voracious appetites to Jesus – who will satisfy them abundantly.

“Thank you. I’m content with what you have given me.” 

The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

7I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.d
8I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole beinge rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.f

11You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

-from Psalm 16

 

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