As a new parent, I’m enjoying the relative ease of being able to share, sing and talk about Jesus with my little boy. There is no pressure, nothing I need to be “politically correct” about. He’s too young to comprehend it all just yet.
But I know the time will come when he will have questions. When he will wonder why we go to church 2-3 times a week, why we pray before we eat, why we sit and read our bibles, why we choose not to drink alcohol and change the channel when sexual images come on TV. I’m sure he will have friends whose parents do things differently and he’ll be tempted to compare. There will be things that we do wrong that we’ll have to apologize for. Soon he will know our flaws.
The statistics of pastor’s kids leaving the faith is even more disheartening. The responsibility to make sure that “doesn’t happen to us,” can seem overwhelming at times.
So with all this in mind, we have given a lot of thought about how we will raise Micah. Not to say we won’t do things differently when the time actually comes, but we’ve thought a lot about how our parents raised us and what we would like to change or do the same.
Here are a few of the ways we are preparing for parenting.
1. Live out our faith at home.
We believe this is one of the greatest things we could do as parents. Showing Micah what it looks like to follow Christ in every area of our life. Being careful not to act one way at church and another at home. Reading the Bible together as a family and making it a priority. Hopefully these things will help Micah see that Jesus is not just a part of our life, He is our life.
2. Admit when we’re wrong.
Showing Micah (and any future children) that we’re not perfect won’t be very hard, he’ll see us make lots of mistakes. But admitting them will make all the difference. And asking forgiveness when we wrong him will be even more important (and I can only imagine, very very hard!) We want our children to see us in the best light. I know I already care what Micah thinks about me and he’s only 8 months old! It’s part of loving someone so much that you never want to do anything to break that bond. But the best way to teach children the gospel, is to show them mommy and daddy need forgiveness too.
3. Train them for righteousness.
We have discussed this one a lot. We’ve heard parents talk about not wanting to “pressure” their children to go to church, to read their Bible, or do anything basically that might make them feel forced to follow Jesus. We understand this and get where the parents are coming from. But we feel a responsibility to train our children to love the Lord and the things of God. And there will be times when they may not want to attend church and we will make them go. We find it ironic that when it comes to school or extracurricular activities, parents have no problem pressuring their kids to make good grades and be the best they can be. But when it comes to faith, we want to sit back and let them decide for themselves. Training involves discipline, and sometimes we need to be pushed to do the right thing.
4. Show love unconditionally.
This one seems easy right now. Nothing Micah could do could make me love him less. Even when he claws my face with those razor sharp nails (Geez! What is it about baby nails?) But what happens when Micah decides to stray from our guidance? And does things that honestly, I can’t even bring myself to write down because of how brokenhearted I feel even imagining it! What happens then? Our love will be what brings him home. No matter how good we parent, the choice is still his to follow Christ. If he strays, we cannot stray from loving him the same or we are preaching that love is earned through action, which is exactly the opposite of the love offered through Jesus Christ. This does not mean we won’t discipline him, we plan to do a lot of spanking in our home (Proverbs 23:13) but it will always be done in love. Even if that means we need to take a few moments to compose ourselves and pray before we do.
Being intentional as parents is important. Sure, our son just learned to crawl and he probably won’t be able to talk his way into trouble for at least a couple more years. But if we don’t begin to plan now for the future, then we’ll resort to being led by our natural tendencies. And let’s just say… mine aren’t too pretty.Read More
Last weekend, I spent some time with a group of our girls from church for a “Girls Night Out.” We played games, ate pasta, had a fashion show and talked about modesty. And of course the inevitable dance party broke out before we curled up with popcorn and soda to watch Princess Diaries. I brought Micah along too (he was the only boy allowed!) so we didn’t spend the night, but we stayed pretty late and met them back up there around 10am in the morning for a time of worship.
If it sounds like fun, you’d be right, it was.
But what I cherished most of all was getting the opportunity to spend face to face time with these girls. They had questions, they had hurts and some of them had a seriously flawed view on what it meant to be beautiful. And modesty, no matter how “dated” the word may appear, is such a needed character trait that I thought I would address it here on the blog as well.
Modesty is dying in our culture. And I’m not just talking about a dress code. You can be wearing a burqa and still be immodest. Modesty, in it’s very definition, means humble. Unassuming. Unpretentious. Quiet about our own achievements and abilities.
In a lot of ways, completely opposite of our culture.
We are being influenced and consumed every day by social media, magazines, photographs, tv, music, you name it… that tell us that success is beauty, that money is beauty, that fame is beauty. And the temptation is there to become envious of those who have nicer homes, or nicer hair, or nicer clothes. Before we know it – we are caring too much about what everyone else thinks of us and not caring about thinking of everyone else.
It’s not like we have to go too far looking for these things. Thanks to social media, it’s flaunted in our faces. One of the biggest trends out there is to take “selfies” or simply, a picture of yourself. I cringe just thinking about it. Because for decades teenagers have struggled with self-esteem and identity issues, this isn’t new. But now we have measurements to help boost our ego or dig in the knife deeper, depending on how many people decide to “like” our photo. The whole concept behind a “selfie” is selfish. We are degrading ourselves. We are worth so much more to Christ. (Let me also clarify that I do believe there is a difference in taking a selfie for selfish reasons and taking one to truly document a moment. But a lot of times it’s hard to differentiate between the two, so I tend to avoid them altogether).
You see, immodesty is all about how much you are revealing. Whether in your clothing or in your tweets, photos and conversation. And if we don’t have a filter in our lives, we are going to adapt to the culture around us.
My filter is my husband.
Whenever I get dressed to go somewhere, I ask Josh if what I’m wearing is okay. Sometimes he says, “You look too good in that!” which is code for “You need to go change.” There have been several times where I’ve thought I looked “supa-cute” in an outfit, and he felt uncomfortable with me wearing it. So I changed. I care more about being modest, especially in his eyes, than I do about being trendy or fashionable.
I also run things by him before sharing on social media. I show him photos before posting, read him tweets before I send them out and even blog posts sometimes, if I know it may be a touchy subject.
This is how I’ve handled my very real, very tempting, issue with modesty.
I want every girl and guy to feel beautiful. I want them to feel loved. But, immodesty robs us of that. Immodesty is always asking for more.
This is such a heavy burden on my heart. I believe it accounts for so much of the heartache teenagers and young adults face today. Spending the weekend with these girls reminded me of this prevalent issue.
And to all my 18+ women out there, who think this issue may not apply to us, remember you are an example. They are watching. Show them what a godly woman of character looks like.
I’ll leave you with this quote I saw pop up on my Twitter feed the same day I started writing this post, no coincidence I’m sure.
“A gentle spirit, modest character and loving personality gives a radiance to the face that no makeup could ever replicate.” – Ashlee Chu
I think I need to just go ahead and drop the dream of ever becoming some super-amazing, consistent blogger. It’s just not me. And if in 8 years of blogging I haven’t found a way to master it, it’s not going to ever be me. But really. I don’t see how you daily bloggers, or even 3 times a week bloggers, do it?! Is someone cleaning your house for you? Watching the kids? Cooking dinner? Feel free to share your secrets, because I haven’t figured it out yet.
What I can tell you, is that I am learning more about what it means to let go.
I’m letting go… of feeling like I need to be great at everything.
I’m letting go… of feeling like I need to respond to everyone.
I’m letting go… of feeling the need to know what is going on in everyone’s lives.
I’m letting go… of anything that distracts me from the best things in my life.
Jesus. My husband. My son.
I’ve had to make a few sacrifices recently. Dropping some things that I thought were great, realizing they were only good things distracting me from the best things.
Most of these are personal decisions, like how much time I spend online (and on my iPhone, which I excuse as not actually being “online” but it totally is) and being intentional about being more of a listener to my husband, eye contact and all.
But spiritually-speaking, I have been asking God to show me what He desires for me to be passionate about. Because, let’s be honest… passion is not a value I am lacking. Being passionate about the things that He is passionate about? Well, that’s a different story.
This world sure does “fire me up” (to use my husband’s terminology), but I need to be careful that in my anger towards this world and all the evil in it – I do not become distracted in sharing the greatest news of all. The victory HAS been won! We will not suffer for too much longer.
want need to focus my attention on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and excellent (phil 4:8) because God knows that my mind can dwell on the lies, dishonorable, wrong, immoral and evil.
And while the fight against evil is a good cause – the victory over it has already been won in Jesus Christ! And it’s a good cause, not worth compromising for the best message of all – Jesus saves.
The Christian culture is enamored with the term legalism.
Legalism: the dependence on moral law rather than on personal religious faith.
Growing up in church, attending bible college and marrying a student pastor practically gives me a target on my back to be labeled, “legalistic.” But add on the fact that my husband and I have chosen not to drink alcohol and well, you might as well call us 21st century Pharisees.
At least that is what pops in the minds of many people. Maybe yours included.
In fact, more than ever lately, we have been asked by other ministry friends if we “drink” or not. It’s like a prerequisite for social outings. It just always seems to ”come up” one way or another.
But why is this? I mean, when was the last time someone asked if you watched R-rated movies? It’s just an awkward question. “I, uhhh… yes, I mean I have, but no I don’t.”
They should just go ahead and ask what they really want to know – because I’m pretty sure our choice of beverage is not the issue here.
They want to know if we are legalistic.
Well, we’re not. Far from it actually. And I think this word has been completely misused and wrongly insulting towards many people.
While there is a serious flaw in trying to depend on our own good works for our salvation (legalism), there is a huge difference between this and striving for holiness.
You see, our decision to not drink is just one example, of many, that is a result of our calling to pursue holiness. Just as we don’t want to tempt ourselves with alcohol, we also don’t want to be alone with the opposite sex, dress in a way that draws attention to our bodies, or watch certain movies that compromise our moral convictions. It’s all a strive to be more like Jesus and less like our dirty, nasty selves. We don’t need any help from alcohol, movies, clothing, etc… we’re pretty filthy on our own.
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead be filled with the Holy Spirit.” – Ephesians 5:15-18
Did you catch that? Be careful how you live. Don’t act thoughtlessly. Especially in these evil days.
This is a call for holy living. Set apart living. What that looks like for you, may be different than what it looks like for me. But what matters is that we do what the Lord wants us to do.
Josh and I are completely confident that our decision to not drink is the best choice for our lives. Coming from families who have abused alcohol and just seeing the abuse of alcohol in our society, is enough reason for us to want to abstain. We do not believe this is necessary for everyone. And it definitely isn’t necessary for salvation. But we still struggle with feeling the need to defend ourselves from the “legalistic” label.
This brings me to my final point: I don’t think it is possible for a true Christ-follower to be legalistic.
This is not to deny that there are truly those living in legalism. There are. Legalism would be for us to believe that any of this actually SAVES us.
But someone who has truly been saved by the grace of God knows that it is nothing they could have done, it was ALL about what Jesus did. And abstaining from whatever may cause them to fall back into a lifestyle of sin, is not legalism – it is holiness.
I am a passionate person.
If you know me personally, you know there are several things that I could sit and talk about all day – how I came to know Jesus as my Savior, how I fell in love with my husband, my little boy, Micah and how awesome it was to carry him for
nine ten months, birth him and now be his mom, how important it is to go on overseas mission trips, how Mike Huckabee should have been president four years ago and how much I love Taylor Swift as a songwriter.
But if you really want to get me fired up, especially during an election season, just mention the word abortion.
I am not one to shy away from controversial subjects and I’m also not one to apologize for being politically incorrect. Which is why I am going to take a moment and share some of my very passionate thoughts on this topic.
Abortion is murder. Not going to beat around the bush here.
There is just no other way for my mind to comprehend it. Even had I not experienced trouble getting pregnant and the miracle of finding out we were expecting (and seeing little Micah’s life begin on the ultrasound!), I would still believe this. But going through those things has made it even more abundantly clear how cruel the act of abortion is. I’m pretty sure that I’m speaking in good company, as most of my friends and blog readers are Christians, and well, most Christians have no trouble believing this. But here’s where I am going to lose a few of you – I believe a vote for anyone other than a pro-life candidate is a vote for murder.
I’ve had several discussions with Christian friends who don’t agree with this. And actually go so far as to say that voting for someone because they are pro-life is ignorant, stupid, ridiculous… and so on. After all, it’s not like any president is truly going to end abortion… they say. And it’s true, the act of abortion may never end. Just as murder will never end, rape will never end and poverty will never end. But does that mean we don’t fight against it?
This thought came to me the other day and I knew I wouldn’t be able to dismiss it until I shared.
The Bible warns us that we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil. Every day that we get up we are in a battle against Satan, also referred to in Scripture as a “thief.” John 10:10 sends chills down my spine when I think about Satan and how he is living out this verse in regards to abortion,
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” – Jesus
Satan has created the biggest massacre in the history of mankind and is disguising it as a “legal act!” He is killing lives that were created by God!! Does this anger and infuriate you as much as it does me?! Who knows how many future warriors for Christ Satan has already destroyed! I am thinking somewhere in the millions! And we wonder why this world is so full of hate, and yet so few seem to stand for truth. Maybe God has been trying to send down warriors – but they are being killed off!!
I know this sounds desperate. But that’s because I am! I am desperate for Christians to rise up against evil and stand for the Biblical truth that we claim to believe saves us. This applies to every area of our life, not just abortion. I know God is God and there is ultimately nothing out of His control, but we see many times in Scripture where the Lord handed people over to their sin.
“So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.” – Psalms 81:12
“Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.” – Romans 1:28
It scares me to think that might be true for us today. Could it be that our minds have been so blinded by the enemy, that even Christians do not believe that voting pro-life is “worth it” anymore? I am much more likely to trust that a candidate who cares about life from conception is going to care about life after conception.
I know many arguments can spur from this discussion — and I want to avoid that. Hate is not the answer, never has been and never will be. But I do believe that we can have a godly anger towards sin. Starting in our own lives. And this anger towards sin should be reflected in every aspect of our life, including how we vote. But if we are not careful, we can have a depraved mind and forget the truth that we hold to. This is just me giving you a little reminder, that hey, abortion is still murder.