Friday, July 30, 2010

Rock A Bye Baby

Oh, the joy of having a new little baby again. Her sweet smell. Her sweet smile. The joy of nursing this little one, connecting with her, nourishing her, helping her to grow. I absolutely LOVE to rock Bella to sleep. She has her "position", like she is in her sling. On my hip, left arm tucked, head on my chest. As if on cue, she is asleep in 5 minutes or less. As a side note, this comes in very handy in church. :) I'll often sing her a little song as she doses off. Then it's off to bed for her much needed nap. She is oblivious to the world around her, cuddled in her little sanctuary, her crib, safe & secure.

What about me? What about you? Are we asleep, oblivious to the world around us, huddled in our little sanctuaries, safe & secure?

Have you been rocked to sleep by a complacent spirit that lays like a wet blanket over the modern church of America?
Revelation 3:15
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou was cold or hot.. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Have you been rocked to sleep by the sweet words of a pastor who tell you what you want to hear?
2 Timothy 4:3-4
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Have you been rocked to sleep by the lullabies that you sing on Sunday morning that sound really pretty,are about how God does great things for us & have a nice beat, but are far from Scriptural?
Have you heard the new song "Love Has Come" by Mark Schultz? I LOVE this song! It has a great beat. It feels good. But as I continued to listen, something wasn't right. "Every knee shall bow. Every tongue confess, that God is love & love has come for us all. Every heart set free. Every one will see. That God is Love & love has come for us all." That sounds beautiful, but it is WRONG!
Philippians 2:5-11
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Every knee will bow, every tongue confess when Jesus comes back NOT as this worldly love that we think of but as righteous, just, perfect love.
Revelation 19:11
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Those types of songs are so dangerous because they are part truth & they sound good. And they are deceiving many people into believing that God is love, love in their mind, human love. Therefore, they have no worries because "a loving God would not send anyone to hell."

Are you safe & secure in your little sanctuary? We have Sunday School, Sunday am & pm service, Wednesday night service, men's Bible studies, women's Bible studies, and the list goes on of programs & classes that are available to the church body any night of the week in any town across the country. We are well fed, fat & happy, if we want to be. But are we going out?

Jude 1:21-23
Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

In our life, we have experienced this. We went to a church in town. They had a great worship team. The pastor could give a good message, a few Scriptures taken out of context, a half dozen different versions of God's Holy Word to make it easier to understand. *sarcasm* Daniel was involved in the men's group & I led a women's Bible study. BUT, something was wrong. We couldn't tell you what. We just knew that something was missing.
Through a series of events, God made it very plain to us that needed to leave. When we were invited to this church in "the ghetto" of Northeast Michigan, we went for my ma in-law. We walked in. Nothing unusual. Pews. Hymnals. Baptists in suits. But when the pastor started to preach, he held up his Bible and asked us to stand because this was God's Word and it is Holy.
I am reminded of the song, "We are standing on Holy ground. And I know that there are angels all around. Let us praise Jesus now. For we are standing in His presence on Holy ground."
We left the church changed. My heart soared that day.

Since then, God has gradually removed the "wet blanket" of complacency and set aflame this burning desire in our hearts to rescue others from the same fate.
God has put us under the teaching of a man who doesn't care what we WANT to hear, but tells us what we NEED to hear. He is bold & zealous & God has used his words to startle our sleeping spirits, to awaken our consciences, to put us on full alert. There is not a Sunday that goes by that we aren't squirming in our seats, not because we can't wait to get out of there, but because the Holy Spirit is there, testifying that we must change. We have sin that God wants to remove. We lust after things. We are silent when we should speak. We compromise our beliefs so that we will be liked by our Christian friends. You know, it would be pretty hard to get Izabella to sleep if I kept poking her every couple of minutes.

Oh, the music... it has become an idol in this country. We will change churches, start new churches, spend unGodly amounts of money on equipment, all in the effort to have a good worship service, so it's pleasing to our "itching" ears. God says, "make a joyful noise". The heart of the worshiper & the truth of the words are far more important than whether we like this "style" of music or not. Worship is supposed to be about Him, how great He is, how worthy He is.

For me, this has been the hardest reality. I enjoy Bible studies. I enjoy fellowshipping with other believers, talking with friends, being actively involved in church. I am much more comfortable there. I'm accepted. I belong. But, I started to realize that I could easily spend 4 hours a week in some type of church activity all in the name of Christian service.
I did not have time to serve my husband & be his helpmeet. I did not have time to disciple my children in the way God has called me to.
I did not have time to serve the people in my life that need the love of Jesus.
The perfect analogy for this is the Dead Sea. It is continually
fed by the rivers & streams coming off the
mountains in the area, but NO rivers drain out of the Dead Sea. So, as water evaporates, the sea becomes saltier & saltier making it deadly. No fish or sea life can survive in the Dead Sea, only certain bacteria & one type of algae.

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.

I have been so comfortable living my own life, doing my "church" thing, for so long, that I truly became oblivious to the world around me. The fact that families live in cardboard boxes, that babies actually die of starvation, that people are isolated & lonely all around me didn't bother me. Until now. Now, I see their faces in the lines at Walmart. The people are starving for human contact, just eye contact, just conversation, just to know they are not invisible. Now, I ache for them. I must move past the "ache", the "pain", and "be a doer of the Word". I'm slowly starting to give up "my life" and let God direct it. He has told me where to go, who to call, what to do. He can be so bossy and insistent some times.

As we were talking the other day, my wise husband said something like this to Ryan. Don't look to do something "big" for God. One person matters. That young man at church who is just a train wreck. He's hurting so badly that no one wants to be around him. Love him. That's "big". He matters to God.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

Ephesians 5:14-17
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

My prayer is that this message will be taken as it is intended. I am so far from where God wants me to be. He and I have so much work to do. I must speak the truth. I speak it in love. I love you. I love Jesus. We must pick up our cross & follow Him to be His disciple.

In His Grip,

Friday, July 16, 2010

How do you do it?

The pic above is Lukasz & Anya! Just to make me smile & remember!
Today, it's about me. I need this. I've heard it again, so to prevent my head from blowing up like a huge balloon, I will be totally honest.

How do you do it? Daniel & I have 7 children, ages 17, 14, 11, 5, 4, 2 1/2 & 4 months. We home school them all.

So, here's our secret. We don't.

After Lukasz was born, I had this huge realization that I could NOT do this mothering thing on my own. I didn't have the knowledge, the patience, the endurance, the anything to be the mother of 5 (at that time) children.

That's when Jesus came in and saved the day. I realized I couldn't live off of a daily quiet time (or the illusion of). I needed Him every hour. I needed His help for EVERYTHING! I need Him to give me the strength to keep my mouth shut. I need His help to give me the patience to speak at the right time. I need His comfort when I feel lonely because I don't have time for daily phone calls to friends who understand.

I don't want to give the impression that we have it all together to anyone ever. Okay, maybe some times I would like people to think that I have it all together. But then, all the pressure is on me to perform. Then I have to get my wonder woman cape on & fly around saving the day. The thought makes me laugh.

Now, I'll be really honest. I am constantly struggling to be consistent with the kids. Right now, there are dishes on the counter, crayons on the table, laundry piled up. The younger kids went to bed at 9:30 pm, older ones are getting ready to watch a movie with me (which I'll probably fall asleep during). We are in the middle of no less than 3 home improvement projects. I'm planning 3 more in my head. My 2 year old screams every time someone touches her & then I caught her big brother pinching her as he walked by to watch her scream. They call each other & sometimes me "poopy head". The other day, we were at a carnival type thing with at least 200 people there. I had the baby in the shade, the younger ones were with siblings. I went to check on them and no one knew where the little ones were. We found them. They were completely fine, but still... I had a fit. It was Kathryn's birthday & I planned on taking her shopping to pick out an outfit, but I forgot to tell her that. So, she went all week thinking I wasn't planning on getting her anything. Sometimes, I get mad at my husband. Sometimes, I'm disrespectful. The sassy, head nod Shaniqua thing that the girls do... they got from me. (I'm going to buy them a bobble head doll that looks like them.) Daddy & Ryan are in the process of teaching the little boys how to arm pit fart... at the dinner table.

Do you get the picture? I'm just me. Daniel is just Daniel. And ya know what? It's okay. We're workin' on growing up together. We're workin' on staying young together. We're workin' on being more like Christ together.

I'm giving up my dream of having this perfect little refined family to show off at church on Sunday, but stepping into REALITY. We have a very imperfect, large family that truly loves the Lord & wants to give Him glory & I'm just praying that I will step out of the way & let Him do His thang... Because when I am weak, then He is strong. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

So, next time I hear that question, I'm going to answer it honestly. It's not me. I fail every day. It's HIM! It's all about HIM! I pray you see HIM!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Get Dirty!

I've been watching my kids play in their sandbox. It is their favorite place to play these days. It used to be just an ordinary play area until Mom added WATER. Last year, I would not allow them to put too much water in there. "Too dirty!", I would shout. This year,I say "We'll just take a bath before lunch time." Now, they have full access to their own hose. They've made rivers, lakes, mountains, caves & canyons. They've gotten their boats to float down stream. And they've gotten DIRTY!!!

When we garden, we do not wear gloves. It is very calming to go into the garden & just start pulling weeds. It is monotonous. It takes no thought. There is instant progress. And I'm getting DIRTY!

That dirt, if it has not been "fertilized" with chemicals, is full of billions of bacteria, GOOD bacteria. That good bacteria is so important for our health, for our immune systems. There are numerous articles on the link between colon health and overall health. Here are two that I have found to be very helpful to us. The Case For Healthy Bowels & Bacteria, The Soil, The Gut & Detoxification. (Do not substitute this for medical advice from a professional. I am just a mom with a few opinions & real life experience)

There are a few things that we, as a family, avoid like the plague. "City water" is treated with chlorine. Chlorine kills bacteria. All bacteria. The good, the bad, the ugly. Antibiotics kill bacteria. Not all bacteria, but they cannot tell the difference between good & bad. Ever eaten TONS of yogurt while you on are an antibiotic to try to prevent a yeast infection? Yeast infections are caused by too much yeast, not enough good bacteria to "eat" the yeast. Antibacterial soaps & hand sanitizer not only kill the surface bacteria but also enter the body & kill the good bacteria. All these things, when used on a regular basis are actually doing MUCH more harm than good.

I implore you to do some research & see if what I say is true.

So, the next time your kiddos want to run in the mud. Let them. Get in there with them. GET DIRTY, Mom! Make a mud hole for them to create in. Build a garden. Who cares about having to give them another bath? The joy on their faces is SO worth it!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Oh, The Thinks You Can Think

I have loved Dr. Suess FOREVER! I loved to read "Horton Hatches The Egg" as a child, loved to read "Fox In Socks" or better yet, pick it for Cheryl to read when I was a teenager working at a day care and love to read any Dr. Suess book to my kids today. If I get to pick the book, you can bet that at least ONE Dr Suess book will be in the mix.

I loved the imaginative illustrations when I was little. I loved to improve my speech and see how fast I could read it as I got older. Now, I love seeing the "bigger picture" behind so many of his stories. I don't know whether they are Dr. Suess's bigger picture or just what "I" see in them. Doesn't really matter to me. It's cool!

Today, I was reading "Oh, The Thinks You Can Think" again, when I actually noticed the front cover. It is a picture of these Suess birds, walking one by one, eyes closed, in a circle. Huh... Isn't that what happens if we're not paying attention? If we are just going through life, believing what everyone else is saying, doing what every one else is doing...

When we first started the process of homeschooling our Rosalie, I called every one I knew that was homeschooling to get their opinion on what curriculum was best. I remember one very wise woman that said, "Why don't you ask the one that called you?" My first thought was, "I called you." Then I got it. God called me to homeschooling. He has a plan for our family. Ask Him what we should be doing. Since that day, I've tried to do just that. Although I LOVE to talk about curricula & what is working for people, I know that God has a plan for OUR family that will be different from every other home school family out there. Every time I start to compare myself to what others' "school" looks like, I get anxious, confused and discontent.

I don't want to follow others path, walk with my eyes shut, going around in circles.

I want to think for myself, pray for myself, seek for myself what is the right way for our family to go. Then go!

Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh the THINKS you can think up if only you try!