Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Journey of Heart Change IV

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV

So finally, I get to the mommy heart-change thingy.

God knows his daughter well, of course.  He worked on me from the big picture down to the details.  First he worked on my own sinful heart and attitude toward him.  He IS wisdom after all.  He showed me who he was and what my place in this world actually is.  And then he applied that to the details of my life.  First to Him, and the position of authority he has in my life, and then to my husband, and the authority he has in my life.  And next, and finally, he was able to work in my attitude towards my children.

What he gave me was far better then that 'feeling of love' for my children.  He showed me his will for them, in a large sense, and my place in that.  Of course, I still don't know what my kids will grow up to be. I don't know how God will use them.  But I do know that he will use them, and it is my job to train them up to know, love and obey him, so they will be open and ready for whatever he has planned for them.

That's it.  That's my job.  And it's the most important thing I can do with my life right now.

I used to wish to be a missionary in some foreign country because that was, of course, the best way to do 'ministry' and to serve the Lord.  I think in America, the task of child rearing has been handed over to others for so long, and been done so shodily, that we don't see how important it really is.  We don't realize that that is exactly how God changes the world.  One person at a time, who then affects another person, etc. I also think that parents have lost their authority over their kids, and along with the authority, they lose their ability to affect, shape and mold them. 

When God opened my eyes to the incredible importance of my influence in my child's life, and the importance of 'real individuals' in history (His story), I started realizing how important my job of training truly is to God's plan.  Even if we never do 'big work' for him, we are still doing what he has called us to do.  He does know the future, and only he can plan all the details perfectly, to bring glory to himself.

My job, and the job of my children, and all Christians to walk this earth, simply is to stay connected to the Lord through repentance, prayer and the Word, and he will guide us.  The details are in his hands.

So what does that look like for me as a parent?  Well, it looks like me opening the Bible daily, studying it and aligning my life under it.  And then, teaching all of that to my kids.  Here are some verses that I have applied to parenting in a different post, and in my own parenting. 

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.  How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
Ezekiel 16:20-21-Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had born to Me.  And sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter?  You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols causing them to pass through fire.

Ephesians 6:4-Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord

Deuteronomy 6:6-9  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates

Psalm 78:5-7  He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children,so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.  Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Jeremiah 10:2  Learn not the way of the heathen.  

Psalm 1:2-  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

II Corinthians 10:5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Colossians 3:2  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Proverbs 13:20  He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

II Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Proverbs 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 2:6  For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Psalm 119:97-101  Oh, how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,  for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.  I have more understanding than the elders,  for I obey your precepts.  I have kept my feet from every evil path  so that I might obey your word.
What does that look like on a day-to-day basis?  Well, that is different for each family, and even different for each family, depending on the changing circumstances of life.  I think what God expects from every parent though, is that they intentionally draw closer to the Lord every day, and that they teach their children to do the same.  Satan will do his best to make sure that doesn't happen naturally.  So we have to consider life, and esp parenting, to be a battlefield.  And we have to approach it as warfare, active and on the offensive.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Journey of Heart Change III

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV

Like I mentioned in Part II, God was only laying the foundation for some major heart change in my life, when he made himself the central figure of my life.  Of course, my strength had to come from him in order to withstand such change, and for it to be real.

After realizing that nothing, absolutely nothing, could come in the way of my relationship with God, he started to show me sin my life that would hinder that all-important relationship if it was not taken care of.  I think if a human did that, it would be considered manipulation.  But, thankfully, the perfect, all-knowing God only has our best interests at heart, so we can trust him entirely, in process and product.

The first area he showed me was my lack of respect for my husband.  Now Scripture is very clear that a wife is to respect her husband.  VERY clear. And I knew that.  But, I'm lousy at pretending, and I did not 'respect' him in an emotional way.  So what was a girl to do?  Well, just what I did of course-nothing.  It worked for years, until I realized that it was going to get in the way of my relationship with God. You see, before this, I didn't really care. I guess I just didn't have that real relationship with the Lord, so giving it up really didn't mean much.  But once you've tasted it, oh man, it's addictive.  And I wasn't willing to give it up, even if it meant lowering my pride and figuring out how to respect my husband.

So, I did what I do whenever I'm faced with an obstacle-I read.  And read and read and read.  And talked, and talked and talked (thanks Carrie and Robin).  Two things I'm very good at. :)  But I was taken aback by the results-nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  No respect came.  I tried.  I pretended.  I said the right words.  I acted the right way.  And I realized, at some point, that it wasn't working.  Usually all my reading helped me to figure things out.  But not this time. 

Finally, I threw my hands up in defeat and told my husband the truth.  'I'm sorry I don't respect you.  I know I'm supposed to.  I know it's a sin not to, but I've tried and tried, and I just can't.'.  Lucky for me he took it really well.  Obviously it was just me stating the truth, not telling him something he didn't already know.

For two years I prayed, asked questions, looked for answers and cried.  It was the first time that I felt truly helpless.  I was used to being superwoman.  Finding a problem, and then finding a solution.  But this time, it just wasn't working.

And God finally got through to me, that I could not change myself.  That there is no good thing in me, and all good comes from him, and through him.  I now realize that the reason for that is so he gets all the glory.  But that lesson came later.

So I submitted to him.  I said 'God, you told me to respect my husband, and I can't do it.  I need your help to obey you.'  Weird.  I always thought God expected me to obey him.  Period.  But I was starting to realize that great lesson of the saints.  That we are nothing apart from him.  And all things, ALL things come from him.  Even the ability to love and obey him.

Talk about mind boggling!  And humbling, and maddening.

But, it came.  At some point, after a few years of letting go, I looked back and realized that 'Hey, I respect my husband, I really do!'.  And it wasn't from my own doing.  I couldn't.  I wasn't capable.  It was only Christ in me, that was able to do so.

But it was subtle, oh so subtle.  All of my reading and thinking and studying came into play.  I did what I was supposed to, simply because I was supposed to, and eventually, my heart followed.

I was scared to death of consequences, but the Lord showed me that the thing he expected of me was to obey him, by obeying and respecting my husband.  Any consequences that came from that, he would help me deal with.  But he did expect me to play my part.  And the heart truly did follow.

Now, I can't decide if my husband has changed and I just naturally respect him.  Or if I have changed and can naturally respect him.  Or, if we have both changed.  I have a sneaking suspicion though, that God used my willingness to obey, and that all-important respect, to help my husband to grew in the Lord.  So, we met somewhere in the middle.  Now THAT is being a true helpmeet!  And he, for the record, agrees.

But remember, all of this started with my daily communing with God and being willing to do anything necessary to keep those communication lines open.  

And that, my friends, was the beginning of the end.  Or the end of the beginning.  Or the middle of the road. Or heck, maybe even a mid-life crisis.  I am 33 after all. 

Finally, next time, I should get to the whole parenting thing, and how God changed my heart there.  But he had to start with my relationship with my husband before he could work on anything else.  As that is so foundational to parenting.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Funny Conversations

I was having a conversation in my head. I'm sure I'm not the only one who does that. :)

I was telling someone about Myia's issues with her anger/behavior, breathing issues, food sensitivities, environmental and food allergies, etc.

And they asked 'Is she on medicine?'. 

My answer: 'No, she's on food'.

I was amused by that for some reason.  You can either be on 'medicine' or on 'food'.  And since you have to eat food anyway, you might as well go that route!

I love that food can and does heal the body.  It's restricting in some sense, but also very freeing in others.

We were eating soup and the kids didn't want to drink their broth.  So I gave them an object lesson.  I showed them the rest of the broth in my bowl, mixed in with some homemade sour cream from grass fed cows.  It was yummy, but, there was more to it then that.

So I showed them the broth and said 'You see this?' mysteriously.  And they both looked and were all excited to hear what I was going to say.   'Some people spends hundreds of dollars every month on 'supplements', like vitamins and minerals and probiotics, and all that.  And I believe that most of it can't be used by the body properly anyway, and it ends up causing more harm them good (expensive pee).  But God graciously showed me how I could use real food, which we have to eat anyway, to provide the body with those same nutrients, in the most ideal way for the body.  And that 1/4 cup of broth/sour cream in my bowl was worth as much as bottles and bottles of nutrients, and more.  But most people pay a ton of money for the pills'.  And then Myia pipes up 'Yeah, and they still have to buy food for themselves on top of that!'  It was cute, they were quite impressed and happily finished their broth.

I love cooking with real food, while healing the body.  God is so good!

Ahh, if only healing the soul was that easy.  Wait, it is.....