Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kindle Afresh

For this reason I remind you
to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you
through the laying on of my hands.
1 Timothy 1:6

I read this today in my quiet time... and I think maybe this is where I am right now. I need this gift of God which is in me kindled afresh. I feel drained and it's not a physical drain... it's a spiritual and emotional drain. I need kindled afresh, but I don't know how.

And exactly who lays hands on the female teacher in the southern baptist church?
Who kindles me afresh?

About ten years ago Kay Arthur laid hands on me and prayed over me and I have held on to that for all these years... I have had hands laid on me since then to pray for me during my daughter's illnesses and through life struggles... but I can't recall another time when the gift of God that is in me was kindled afresh by the laying on of hands by anyone in leadership in my church... why is that?

I have been in meetings that have reminded me of my responsibilities, my obligations, and have sat through messages that have reminded me of the burden that I carry as a teacher and how important it is to accurately handle the Word of God... but other than breakfast before a meeting and a thank you for serving as a teacher... that's it.

I have a weight and a great fear of teaching something wrong... because I am still learning myself... I have much opposition against my study time and writing time and I have reached a point that I often wonder if I am in the right place doing the right thing because I often feel so alone...

Here lately the thought of quitting it all and throwing in the towel is ever present... It's a thought that I wrestle with a lot here lately...  Quit teaching. Quit blogging. Quit trying. Just quit.  

Yes I could go to a conference and receive a spiritual boost, but that costs money spent solely on me and time away from home and my responsibilities as wife and mother and keeper of the house... and I don't get a check... so that's just more worry on the bill thing that I don't financially contribute to...

The easy thing to do...

Put the kids back in public school and get a job
(house would stay clean because we would never be in it and could lose/lessen paying bills worry with extra pay check)
Pew sit on Sunday and Wednesday
(lose fear of teaching something wrong and no more struggles over study time and spiritual drain)
Stop writing
(no more frustrations over book sales and/or struggles over writing time and wondering if anyone is even reading)
Become solely focused on husband and children
(that way I might forget that I am an individual with hopes and dreams and desires to be used by God to do amazing things for His kingdom and bring much glory to my Savior)

Hmmmmmm I don't know...
I have dropped teaching responsibilities thinking that I was just on overload... but no, that didn't help.
I have been on several "vacations" one in August when I tagged along on my husband's business trip, September for our family vacation, and now when my girls and I were invited to tag along with my in-laws for my Daddy-in-laws golf tournament... in these I thought if I just "got away" for a while all would come back into perspective... but no, that hasn't helped. 

So whatever I am going through is all me, because no matter what I change externally, my internal chaos remains... I can't get away from me no matter what else I change.

Maybe I am just having a pity party and I need to get over it and suck it up...  
Maybe I am under attack because God is up to something and moving and Satan is busy distracting...
Maybe I just need kindled afresh...

So has anyone else been here?

Or am I really just as alone and crazy as I feel right now?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Life Is A Funny Thing

Life is a funny thing.

I remember when my sister had her wreck a little over a year ago... we were sitting in the hospital waiting room not knowing if she would live and if she did, what would be her life from this point. While we were there in the hospital our church was experiencing the spiritual high of Judgment Seat.

Now this year I sit here at the beach and back at home my sister-in-law has just received the news that she will be facing chemotherapy...

It is a hard pressed thing to think of how on the same day at the very same moment in time one person is experiencing the most wonderful day of their life... while another the absolute worst... and yet God is right there in the midst of both at the same time.

My sister's wreck was probably the first time that this realization ever really hit home.

What it taught me was to be aware...

Not to beware,

I pay more attention now to the hurts of others when before when I would get lost in my most wonderful moments and be completely oblivious to the one beside me who was having the absolute worst moment. I did not do it on purpose... it just was not in my scope... but now it is.

I think this might be one of the reasons the Holy Spirit had Paul write,

With all prayer and petition
pray at all times in the Spirit,
and with this in view,
be on the alert with all perseverance
and petition for all the saints
Ephesians 6:18 

I have learned to be more alert to the hurts around me... to pray... to be more purposeful to send that text, that email, that message, just to let someone know they are on my mind. I am more purposeful to stop and pray and when I have great news I remember those who have just heard bad news... and then in the like... when I have bad news I can rejoice that some where someone else has just had great news.

It's a funny thing to learn to be thankful in both, to rejoice in good times and bad, to know that God is always right there in the midst of them both.

Rejoice in the Lord always;
again I will say,
Philippians 4:4

Train Up A Child Day 17

My friend we have come to point 17. This is the final thought, the closing point, in the "The Duties of Parents" by JC Ryle. I hope you have learned as much as I have as we have dug into this paper one point at a time. I pray each truth has sunk in deep. How absolutely fitting that Mr Ryle closes this paper with a point that is focused on the power and necessity of prayer.

Train Up A Child Day Seventeen  

17.  Train them, lastly, with continual prayer for a blessing on all you do.
Without the blessing of the Lord, your best endeavours will do no good.  He has the hearts of all men in His hands, and except He touch the hearts of your children by His Spirit, you will weary yourself to no purpose.  Water, therefore, the seed you sow on their minds with unceasing prayer. 

The Lord is far more willing to hear than we to pray; far more ready to give blessings than we to ask them ; — but He loves to be entreated for them.  And I set this matter of prayer before you, as the top-stone and seal of all you do.  I suspect the child of many prayers is seldom cast away.
Look upon your children as Jacob did on his; he tells Esau they are "the children which God hath graciously given thy servant" (Gen. 33:5).  Look on them as Joseph did on his; he told his father, "They are the sons whom God hath given me" (Gen. 48:9).  Count them with the Psalmist to be "an heritage and reward from the Lord" (Ps. 127:3).  And then ask the Lord, with a holy boldness, to be gracious and merciful to His own gifts. 

Mark how Abraham intercedes for Ishmael, because he loved him, "Oh that Ishmael might live before thee" (Gen. 17:18).  See how Manoah speaks to the angel about Samson, "How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?" (Judg. 13:12). 

Observe how tenderly Job cared for his children’s souls, "He offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all, for he said, It may be my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.  Thus did Job continually" (Job 1:5). Parents, if you love your children, go and do likewise.  You cannot name their names before the mercy-seat too often.
And now, reader, in conclusion, let me once more press upon you the necessity and importance of using every single means in your power, if you would train children for heaven.
I know well that God is a sovereign God, and doeth all things according to the counsel of His own will.  I know that Rehoboam was the son of Solomon, and Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, and that you do not always see godly parents having a godly seed.  But I know also that God is a God who works by means, and sure am I, if you make light of such means as I have mentioned, your children are not likely to turn out well.
Fathers and mothers, you may take your children to be baptized, and have them enrolled in the ranks of Christ’s Church; — you may get godly sponsors to answer for them, and help you by their prayers; — you may send them to the best of schools, and give them Bibles and Prayer Books, and fill them with head knowledge but if all this time there is no regular training at home, I tell you plainly, I fear it will go hard in the end with your children’s souls. 

Home is the place where habits are formed; — home is the place where the foundations of character are laid; — home gives the bias to our tastes, and likings, and opinions.  See then, I pray you, that there be careful training at home.  Happy indeed is the man who can say, as Bolton did upon his dying bed, to his children, "I do believe not one of you will dare to meet me before the tribunal of Christ in an unregenerate state."
Fathers and mothers, I charge you solemnly before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, take every pains to train your children in the way they should go.  I charge you not merely for the sake of your children’s souls; I charge you for the sake of your own future comfort and peace.  Truly it is your interest so to do. Truly your own happiness in great measure depends on it.  Children have ever been the bow from which the sharpest arrows have pierced man’s heart.
Children have mixed the bitterest cups that man has ever had to drink.  Children have caused the saddest tears that man has ever had to shed.  Adam could tell you so; Jacob could tell you so; David could tell you so.  There are no sorrows on earth like those which children have brought upon their parents. 

Oh! take heed, lest your own neglect should lay up misery for you in your old age.  Take heed, lest you weep under the ill-treatment of a thankless child, in the days when your eye is dim, and your natural force abated.
If ever you wish your children to be the restorers of your life, and the nourishers of your old age, — if you would have them blessings and not curses — joys and not sorrows — Judahs and not Reubens — Ruths and not Orpahs, — if you would not, like Noah, be ashamed of their deeds, and, like Rebekah, be made weary of your life by them: if this be your wish, remember my advice betimes, train them while young in the right way.
And as for me, I will conclude by putting up my prayer to God for all who read this paper, that you may all be taught of God to feel the value of your own souls.  This is one reason why baptism is too often a mere form, and Christian training despised and disregarded. 

Too often parents feel not for themselves, and so they feel not for their children.  They do not realize the tremendous difference between a state of nature and a state of grace, and therefore they are content to let them alone.
Now the Lord teach you all that sin is that abominable thing which God hateth.  Then, I know you will mourn over the sins of your children, and strive to pluck them out as brands from the fire.
The Lord teach you all how precious Christ is, and what a mighty and complete work He hath done for our salvation.  Then, I feel confident you will use every means to bring your children to Jesus, that they may live through Him. 

The Lord teach you all your need of the Holy Spirit, to renew, sanctify, and quicken your souls.  Then, I feel sure you will urge your children to pray for Him without ceasing, and never rest till He has come down into their hearts with power, and made them new creatures.
The Lord grant this, and then I have a good hope that you will indeed train up your children well, — train well for this life, and train well for the life to come; train well for earth, and train well for heaven; train them for God, for Christ, and for eternity.


I don't know about you but I have no greater burden than the eternal souls of my children...

I desire nothing more than they be fully alive in Christ, abandoned and wholly surrendered, head over heals in love with Him alone.

I am not burdened that they have all the pleasures of this world. I am not burdened by worries of paying for college tuition or making sure they are the coolest kids in town...

I am burdened only that I will fail in leading them to Christ. I am burdened only that I will not be a living example. I am burdened only that they will think that my life does not measure up with my words. I am burdened only that they will see my heart and claim me a hypocrite... and run from Christ and His church. This is my greatest fear, the burden that weighs heavy on my heart concerning my children... and not just my children from my womb, but my children in the Lord as well.  

I pray often that God would just remove me and let them only see Him. I pray often that God would bless my feeble efforts and make them what only He can make them... 

Oh precious one we are in this together... let us pray that in the name of Christ we will be the parents that God desires us to be... may we teach our children in our home and train them up in the way that they should go... that way being "the Way"

Jesus said to him,
"I am the way,
and the truth,
and the life;
no one comes to the Father
but through Me."
John 14:6


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Train Up A Child Day 16

So what about the day when you know you have poured the pure Word of God into the heart of your child and yet they run in the opposite direction. What about the day when you look at them and you question why you even bothered to invest so much time, energy, and prayers into their lives because they have thrown it all back up in your face. What about the day when you cry out to God because you can't figure out where you went wrong...

What about that day?  

Train Up A Child Day Sixteen

16.  Train them remembering continually the promises of Scripture.
I name this also shortly, in order to guard you against discouragement.  You have a plain promise on your side, "Train up your child in the way he should go, and when he is old he shall not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6).  Think what it is to have a promise like this. 

Promises were the only lamp of hope which cheered the hearts of the patriarchs before the Bible was written.  Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, — all lived on a few promises, and prospered in their souls. 

Promises are the cordials which in every age have supported and strengthened the believer.  He that has got a plain text upon his side need never be cast down.  Fathers and mothers, when your hearts are failing, and ready to halt, look at the word of this text, and take comfort.
Think who it is that promises.  It is not the word of a man, who may lie or repent; it is the word of the King of kings, who never changes.  Hath He said a thing, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good? Neither is anything too hard for Him to perform.  The things that are impossible with men are possible with God. 

Reader, if we get not the benefit of the promise we are dwelling upon, the fault is not in Him, but in ourselves.
Think, too, what the promise contains, before you refuse to take comfort from it.  It speaks of a certain time when good training shall especially bear fruit, — "when a child is old." Surely there is comfort in this.  You may not see with your own eyes the result of careful training, but you know not what blessed fruits may not spring from it, long after you are dead and gone. 

It is not God’s way to give everything at once.  "Afterwards’ is the time when He often chooses to work, both in the things of nature and in the things of grace. "Afterward" is the season when affliction bears the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Heb. 12:11).  "Afterward" was the time when the son who refused to work in his father’s vineyard repented and went (Matt. 21:29).  And "afterward" is the time to which parents must look forward if they see not success at once, — you must sow in hope and plant in hope.
Cast thy bread upon the waters," saith the Spirit, "for thou shalt find it after many days" (Eceles. 11:1).  Many children, I doubt not, shall rise up in the day of judgment, and bless their parents for good training, who never gave any signs of having profited by it during their parents’ lives. 

Go forward then in faith, and be sure that your labour shall not be altogether thrown away.  Three times did Elijah stretch himself upon the widow’s child before it revived.  Take example from him, and persevere.


So what about that day?

On that day precious one... stand.
Stand on the promises of God.
Stand on the seed that you planted and pray for rain.
Trust that God is the one who reaps the harvest.
Walk by faith and not by sight.

Many times we selfishly want to see the results of all our efforts, but often it is not for us to see, lest we take credit for what belongs only to God...
All is for His glory.

So if your child is in rebellion, rebellion against you and rebellion against God and you know with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind that you trained them up in the way that they should go... that way being to walk in obedience to the Creator God, their Savior and Redeemer... then trust that you did not toil in vain.

Therefore, my beloved brethren,
be steadfast,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that your toil
is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58

holding fast the word of life,
so that in the day of Christ
I will have reason to glory
because I did not run in vain
nor toil in vain.
Philippians 2:16
You Mom...
You Dad...
Obey God... and leave the consequences to Him.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Strong Enough

So have you ever had one of those segments in time of life where you felt completely overwhelmed but really just could not figure out why...

I am there...

It's a weird place.

I heard this song coming home today:

I am in a time right now where I feel like I am never going to "catch up". It's the never ending running behind syndrome... not being able to relax because you know you have to be forgetting to do something... but for the life of you, you can't think of what it is...

I heard the words to this song "You must, You must think I'm strong, to give me what I'm going through... "

No temptation has overtaken you
but such as is common to man;
and God is faithful,
who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able,
but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also,
so that you will be able to endure it. 
2 Corinthians 10:13

The truth is I am not going through anything right now in comparison to what many are going through... but right now I am in a place of internal struggles, internal turmoil, my mind can't settle... the "to do" list has not even helped... ugh it's frustrating. I feel detached if that makes any sense... kind of on the outside looking in sorta thing. I can feel the walls of self protection trying to go up...

Yep, it's a weird place

But I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength... even sort out this crazy brain of mine.

While this song was playing my youngest said "Momma, you know you really didn't give me life... Jesus did." 
I then said, "Yes, He just let me give birth to you and then trusted me with you to raise."
Then she said "Momma, you can't do all things in Christ here on earth."
I just looked at her with a question.
She then said, "You can't fly in Christ when you're here. You have to learn to walk before you can fly..."  

Oh me... I guess I am still learning to walk... but oh how I long to fly.
There's just nothing like having God speak to you through your seven year old child :-)

Train Up A Child Day 15

Oh no... not my child!
Never my child... they would never...
They know better... 
I have taught them better.
Surely I can trust them... 

Let me ask you... how well can you trust your own heart?

Train Up A Child Day Fifteen

15.  Train them.  remembering continually the power of sin.
I name this shortly, in order to guard you against unscriptural expectations.  You must not expect to find your children’s minds a sheet of pure white paper, and to have no trouble if you only use right means.  I warn you plainly you will find no such thing. 

It is painful to see how much corruption and evil there is in a young child’s heart, and how soon it begins to bear fruit.  Violent tempers, self- will, pride, envy, sullenness, passion, idleness, selfishness, deceit, cunning, falsehood, hypocrisy, a terrible aptness to learn what is bad, a painful slowness to learn what is good, a readiness to pretend anything in order to gain their own ends, — all these things, or some of them, you must be prepared to see, even in your own flesh and blood. In little ways they will creep out at a very early age; it is almost startling to observe how naturally they seem to spring up. 

Children require no schooling to learn to sin.
But you must not be discouraged and cast down by what you see. You must not think it a strange and unusual thing, that little hearts can be so full of sin.  It is the only portion which our father Adam left us; it is that fallen nature with which we come into the world; it is that inheritance which belongs to us all.

Let it rather make you more diligent in using every means which seem most likely, by God’s blessing, to counteract the mischief.  Let it make you more and more careful, so far as in you lies, to keep your children out of the way of temptation.
Never listen to those who tell you your children are good, and well brought up, and can be trusted.  Think rather that their hearts are always inflammable as tinder.  At their very best, they only want a spark to set their corruptions alight.  Parents are seldom too cautious.  Remember the natural depravity of your children, and take care.


My parents will tell you this day that the worst thing they ever did was trust us girls.
And it's true.
You see I was raised right.
In a wonderful loving home.
However I found trouble... then I went looking for it.

My parents were fairly strict compared to the parents of many of my friends. I thought they were ridiculously strict. So strict that I would lie and twist and omit information in order to get to do what I wanted. I was able to do this because my parents trusted me. You see I had learned to use their trust in me against them.

I can honestly tell you today that I wish my parents had not trusted me so much. I would rather have the stricter, less trusting parents, than the regrets I carry today. It wasn't that I was a "bad person" I simply just did not understand the power of my sinful heart. I had not the knowledge or spiritual maturity to discern good and evil. I didn't understand the evil until I was neck deep in the consequences.

What I have come to learn is that it's not about whether or not I trust my children... it's about being always fully aware of the pull of their sin nature and being fully aware that their hearts will lie to them just as quickly as my heart will lie to me.

I do not put myself in certain situations for the simple reason of guarding my heart, my mind, and my integrity... I have to teach my children to do that by my own example first and then while doing it for them until they understand how to do it themselves.

When I was first wholly surrendered I really thought that if I poured enough Scripture into them and then if I surrounded them with all the right friends, all would be great and wonderful... but here's what I learned... I can't trust the hearts of their friends either.

Having worked in the youth ministry... I heart-wrenchingly have come to learn that things are not always as they appear. I learned that the same church kids that gossiped and ridiculed me about my sin and yet never invited me to know Christ nor even just invited me to church... were still alive and well in the church today. 

I learned that the kids who had strong believing parents and were leaders in their youth group on Sunday's and Wednesday's were also still the leaders on Friday and Saturday night's parties and the ones having sex outside of wedlock... even though I had myself poured my own brokenness from these actions into their ears. 

I had an eye opening experience that I could not control them nor my own children through controlling their environment and by using the "just say no" campaign.  

I thought that keeping my children in church would be enough... but I learned that it's not. Because it's not about today's idea of 'church'... it's about their hearts. I have to teach my children to recognize the power of their sin nature and I have to teach my children that their hearts will deceive them. I have to teach them how to recognize the liar, the deceiver, the murderer of their souls. I have to teach them how to walk through the valley of the shadow of death... not live trying to keep them away from that valley... because I can't. I have to teach my children not from the "if" but from the "when".

So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you...
Deuteronomy 30:1

I can't just put a set a blinders on them and say keep to the path.
I can't just place them in a shark cage and say now you will not be attacked.
I can't just strap on a safety harness and say now you will never fall.

I have to prepare them for what to do when the blinders come off and they stray to the left or the right and get lost in this life. I have to teach them the tools they will need to get back on the path. When the cage breaks and the sharks attack, I have to teach them how to defend themselves and how and where to go to find new shelter. I have to teach them how to get up when that safety harness malfunctions and they fall. If they are broken... they must know that forgiveness and healing is available. 

I solemnly charge you
in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,
who is to judge the living and the dead,
and by His appearing
and His kingdom: 
preach the word;
be ready in season and out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort,
with great patience and instruction
For the time will come
when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but wanting to have their ears tickled,
they will accumulate for themselves
teachers in accordance to their own desires,
2 Timothy 4:1-3

The time will come in most of our children's lives that they will not endure your teaching any longer. They will seek out friends that tell them what they want to hear and will desire to go that way and not the way they have been taught... be ready.

For we do not want you to be unaware,
brethren, of our affliction
which came to us in Asia,
that we were burdened excessively,
beyond our strength,
so that we despaired even of life;
2 Corinthians 1:8

Be ready in season, when they hang on your every word and trust you completely, teach them truth.

Be ready out of season, when they think you are the most stupid people on the face of the earth who have no clue about their life or the world of today, teach them truth... "reprove, rebuke, exhort"... and do it with "great patience and instruction". Yet do not yield to their sinful desires out of fear of losing them forever... obey God and trust Him with your children... remembering always that He loves them even more than you do.