Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday's Woman Guest Post - Amy

Today, I'm excited to have Amy from A Nest in the Rocks sharing with us today.  She's a perfect fit for sharing about Wednesday's Woman.  I hope her story will inspire you to pray for a mentor too.


When I got married nearly 9 years ago, I had lived in North Carolina less than 2 years.  As a new teacher, I worked nearly 12 hours each workday and had made many new friends – all of them transplanted teachers like me.  While my husband and I dated, it wasn’t a problem to have separate friends – but things changed after we got married. 

The teachers I knew kept moving away, and soon I found myself pregnant, moving across town, and swamped with the work of preparing for maternity leave.  The differences in the way my husband and I were raised became more and more apparent as we prepared for parenthood, and I worried about how we would make important parenting decisions.  With too much work, a busy husband, and no close friends, I found myself feeling very lonely.

Suddenly I began hearing people mention their mentors, and as the word kept popping up, I began to pray for a one.  I prayed for someone with similar parenting philosophies and ideas, a strong Christian, someone who would understand how difficult it was to be away from family and raising a family in a new environment.

Enter Susan, my new neighbor-across-the-street.  She came to school one evening before teaching her Pilates class and introduced herself, but then life kept us apart for months.  Eventually we got together, she with her grandchildren and me with my daughter, and we began to talk while they played.

I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow a friendship developed, and soon it was something more.  Susan proved to be completely trustworthy, and I found that we could talk about anything.  From meal plans to marriage tips, we’ve talked about everything. 

When one of us has a chocolate craving, we bake something and run some across the street – we can indulge without the temptation of an entire cake or batch of cookies.  We shop from each other’s pantries when ingredients go missing and pick up random items from the store for the other when out.  We even share a job at the moment – we split an assistant position in a local preschool.

Our relationship goes beyond just being good friends, however.  Susan often understands where I’m coming from because she’s been there herself.  Like me, she’s raised her children while living in a new state, away from her family.  She’s had to make new friends, deal with career changes, manage a household budget, cook healthy meals for a family, and grow with her husband. 

When I met Susan, I was just beginning to do all of that.  Susan has nearly 30 years’ experience on me, however, and she has the wisdom to match.  When something comes up, I know that I can count on Susan to let me talk it through and to give me wise advice. 

I don’t know what I would do without Susan across the street – and in my life.  Having a sounding board has proved invaluable – and knowing that what I share stays confidential allows us both to be open and honest.  With Susan’s example and experience to guide me, I don’t feel so alone anymore.

If you don’t have a mentor whom you can ask for advice, pray for one today.  No matter your stage of life, you can always learn from those who have more experience than your own – and who couldn’t use a good friend?

Amy is married to Dave and Mommy to one pretty princess and one tiny construction worker.  A former teacher turned SAHM, she blogs about homemaking, teaching, and living life at http://www.anestintherocks.blogspot.com./

Monday, November 28, 2011

I've Considered a Field

"She evaluates a field and buys it; she plants a vineyard with her earnings."
-Proverbs 31:16

This may be shocking to some:  I'm soon to be employed outside the home.

It's only part-time and I will actually be working primarily from my home.  Beginning December 5, I will be a breastfeeding peer counselor for our local health department.

There's a long story about how it all came about, but it goes a little like this - 
I breastfed my four children to a year.  Each posed their own challenges and joys.  I thought, I could really enjoy being a lacatation consultant and I could work from home or set my own hours.  It costs money to take the classes I'd need, so I put it on the backburner.  I was contacted about the possibility of this job, and it sounded really nice as an extra source of income and the chance to "extend my hands to the needy" (Prov. 31:20).  This is my "considering a field" - praying, seeking God to make it clear to me if I can take this on with my husband's full blessing and support.  I wanted God to make it plain by having the folks who interviewed me call with a yes or no.  Either way would be fine by me.  They called with a yes. 

I'm excited about the chance to encourage new moms.  Aren't those first few days and weeks keeping a baby alive exhausting and sometimes overwhelming?  I'm nervous about changes to my routine with my family, but I feel certain this is where God is leading me for this season. Any other moms that work from home part-time, please feel free to lend me some advice! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving

Just in case I don't get another opportunity to hop on the computer this week, I pray you and yours have a very happy Thanksgiving!  May you know you have much to praise God for this year! 

Already this week, we've been fortunate enough to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with our church family and each one of us present shared just how God has blessed us.  Then, last night we enjoyed a second meal with my husband's home church family.  God is good, and I look forward to more feasts this week!  Now to go run a few miles so I won't feel bad about indulging a little...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday's Woman Guest Post - Teri Lee

Teri Lee was a little girl I watched grow up at a distance.  She is the same age as my little brother, so I saw her at school programs, awards days (and she racked up quite a few!), and cross country competitions.  I'm happy to see the woman she's grown into and delighted to have her share with us today.

Thank you, Teri Lee, for sharing your Wednesday's Woman with us!
Hospitality.

It’s more than just having people over for dinner, isn’t it?

My grandmother knows.  Her grown children and grandchildren (and now great grandchildren!) all live in different states.  She has been widowed for 12 years.  She has semi-retired and lives alone next door to the house in which she grew up.  It would be easy for a person in her position to sit at home and become lonely.  Grandma worked full time as a teacher and librarian, was a pastor’s wife who often led the music and/or played piano in her church, and raised three girls.  It would be fair for her to take these years to just rest and find things she enjoys to do.  But the Lord has work for Grandma to do.  So she gets up every morning and gives even more of herself to those around her…and in that act, brings life and love into her own home.

Grandma says that most recipes serve eight…so why would you just cook for yourself?  Instead of using this as an excuse not to cook, Grandma just fills her table regularly with (at least) eight people.  Her widowed neighbor across the street, single mothers and their children, and a constant stream of military families stationed far from home all come into “Grandma Shirley’s” house for a meal…and a taste of love that a real home brings.  She keeps a list of what she serves so she never serves the same thing twice (so if you love something, you better tell her you want it again…or you’ll never taste it twice!) and she always uses her prettiest plates.  No matter what is served, Grandma’s house is a place where the heavy-burdened can take a big breath, fill their stomachs, and refresh their hearts.

Matthew 9 talks about how Jesus ate with sinners because they were the ones who needed Him.  In a culture that is based on doing things to elevate and promote self, Grandma seems to specialize in calling people to her table that can offer her nothing but the joy of serving.  They are special guests to her…a chance to offer someone something they need in a hard time.  I know Grandma doesn’t see anyone as a “project” or a “charity case” but rather friends.  She has a gift of seeing them the way Jesus sees them…and loves them accordingly.

I’ve wondered before how Grandma meets all these people.  How does she always know people who need her table?  I think it has a lot to do with being obedient one time.  She meets a military couple who eventually asks to invite their neighbors over as well.  Those neighbors become her dear friends and eventually invite her over to their house where she meets their sister’s family who lives in the area.  Then, one of them moves and passes her name to the family who is being stationed in their place…and so on.  She stops at houses that she knows have been on the market when she sees the “For Sale” sign go down.  She tracks down every church visitor and notices the family shyly trying to get directions in town.  In other words?  She makes room.  Her life is busy (I’m talking about how hospitable she is…but she also sews nonstop for others, works part time at a college library in town, and is extraordinarily active in her church) but she is never too busy for people.  If you need her…there is always room.  She always has an extra card table, an extra hour, an extra ear for those around her.

Hospitality is more than opening your home.  Hospitality is opening up spaces in your life and heart for those who need the Jesus inside you the most. 

Teri Lee is a member of a little family that seeks after Jesus in all things.  She stays at home with her one year old son, Carter, and is wife to a wonderful man, Steven.  Teri Lee dabbles in all sorts of home hobbies with a great deal of enthusiasm and very little skill J.  She seeks to remember these moments that make up our lives at Castillo, Party of 4.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Not Offending Extended Family

If you're on board with the whole idea of not lying to your children about Santa Claus, be prepared to have thick skin.  You may be looked at as if you grew second and third heads on each of your shoulders when people find out you don't follow what has become a major cultural norm.  Our family is accustomed to this look since we also don't celebrate Halloween and have more than your average size family.  In fact, I'd say we get that look about 80% of the time we go out in public.  It really only spurs me on to have more children!

But let's say you're new to this.  Any Christian called out to not be of this world will face "being different" at some point or another.  If you don't face it, you may need to ask yourself if you're looking a little too much like the world. 
We never intentionally want to be a stumbling block to others, but the Gospel is offensive sometimes because it is convicting.  If our lives are shaped by what we believe, sometimes just being who we are will be offensive to others.

At Christmas, most folks are blessed with the opportunity to see extended family.  We want to celebrate Christ's birth with those we hold most dear.  Merging Christmas traditions can be difficult in the first few years of a marriage, but when you throw in children (grandchildren!), it can be even more complicated.  So then, what to do with Santa if the new grandparents played the game with their own children?

I'm going to speak from my own experience.  This is all I really can do, but I know for some of you, this may be more difficult.  Still, try to apply the principles to more trying family drama!...

First off, to leave is to cleave (Genesis 2:24).  When you begin your own family (on your wedding day, not your first child's birthday), you and your husband will make your own decisions as the Holy Spirit leads you.  You cannot make decisions that affect your own immediate family based on the feelings of those in your extended family.  

If possible, have your own family Christmas before going to see grandparents.  We've always lived far from family, and this is always the way we've done Christmas.  It's nice to have time to treasure, being able to watch the recipient of a gift open what you've given.  It's more intimate in smaller groups.  We also have the added benefit of not having to haul any large items with us to see the extended family.  At this time, we also read the Gospel account of Christ's birth before opening any gifts.  We try to this with extended family too, although we're not perfect.  We forgot at one of the extended family events last year!

My parents did Santa Claus with my brother and me.  They've never said anything to me about why I don't do it with my kids.  I have no idea if my brother plays Santa Claus with his daughter.  My kids have been taught to say to family members that play the game (and other kids too), when asked what Santa brought them, "We don't ask Santa to stop at our house",  which is the truth.  They don't sit in a man's lap at the mall and ask him for gifts.  We may still get strange looks, but this way, we aren't spoiling others' "fun".

We do MANY fun activities with our immediate family, church family, and extended family that don't involve Santa.  And, Santa's not banished from the house.  Some of the ornaments I collected as a child have his figure on them.  We are not legalistic.  There's no reason why I can't share the story of the real man who inspired the legend. 

I hope this is a help for those of you that want to keep your Christmas Christ focused!  If you have any further questions about this topic or anything else, just send me an e-mail at titus2moments(at)hotmail(dot)com.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Lies Kids Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free

First, let me give credit where credit is due.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrote a book entitled Lies Women Believe that is incredible and terribly convicting that I highly recommend to all Christian women.  Ms. DeMoss is sound, not touchy feely, and that's the kind of stuff I need to be reading (after the Bible) to mold me more and more into the image of Christ. 

The title for my post today came to mind after reading a message on Facebook from someone asking me to write on today's topic, Santa Claus.  My friend said she had seen on Facebook where a woman wrote a letter to her daughter to break the news that Santa wasn't real.  Say all you want about St. Nick being a good man (which he was) and that it is a fun game we play with our kids, but the truth of the matter is that telling our kids that Santa Claus knows whether kids or good or bad, and that he rewards those who are good with Christmas presents is a LIE.  Let's not gloss over the truth. 

Santa isn't the only lie parents tell their kids now.  Another I've heard involves kids giving their pacifiers away for the babies that need them.  Who has ever said "I don't know" what happened to a particular toy that "went missing", when it actually got thrown in the trash or given away?  These are lies, and they keep our kids from growing up.

One may argue: "Grow up?  Let's let our kids be kids.  It only lasts a short while."

True.  The older my oldest gets, the more in awe I am that childhood is fleeting, but that doesn't mean I need to keep it from taking its natural course.  When parents intervene with the children's maturity, we end up with middle school kids that still don't help with chores around the house, teenage boys that expect parents to hand out date money as if it grows on trees, and adult kids that fail to launch out of the nest at the appropriate time.

And when it comes to spiritual matters, I hope to see my children grow from desiring milk alone to also feasting on meat.  That's hard to accomplish if I don't even give them the right milk to begin with.  Some of our basics of the Christian life are found in the Ten Commandments.  First, "Do not have other gods besides Me" (Exodus 20:3), then, "Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth" (Exodus 20:4).

When we sing these words
He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good,
so be good for goodness sake.
we are giving Santa Claus the attributes of God.  We make Santa a god.
Childlike faith and the magical wonder of the glitz and glamour we've made into Christmas causes a child to look at the jolly, bearded man in red as an idol.  All of this leads me to believe that if I play the game of Santa Claus with my kids I'm leading them into sin, and as for myself, I'm breaking commandment #9, "Do not give false testimony against your neighbor" (Exodus 20:16).

This is just one of the major reasons we don't fall into our cultural norm of playing Santa Claus.  The other is that Christmas is about the birth of the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus.  I want no other distractions but to celebrate God's amazing gift to the world and point my children to Him as He is the only Truth that will set them free.

Tomorrow, I'll get into the logistics of how our family celebrates a Santa Claus free Christmas.  Join me then! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Choose Your Words Carefully - "Calling"

Whew!  This week was crazy busy for my family.  Revival services were held at our church this week, so my husband was with the evangelist for many hours of each day, and our evenings went past bedtime for the first half of the week.  My oldest daughter also caught a brief stomach bug first thing Monday morning.  I was so happy to have a guest blogger Wednesday because I didn't have time to write this week!

I'm happy to have the opportunity to write a little while now before getting some cupcakes into the oven for our church's Fall Festival this evening.

A major theme of this week has been about "calling".  Our Sunday School lesson this week was about God's calling to Moses using the burning bush, coming from Exodus 3:1-4:12.  Wednesday night, our evangelist shared about God first calling him into ministry and issued the opportunity for the youth to listen to God's call on their lives, possibly into full-time ministry.

I remember very well the summer I was fourteen.  God used that summer to call me into something, though I wasn't sure what.  That year, I took my first mission trip, began doing clowning, and had some great times of Bible study with my youth group.  During our VBS, my pastor gave an invitation that included the commitment to ministry.  I suppose he probably meant vocational minsitry, but all I knew was God was calling me to something.  Again, I wasn't sure what.  It might involve being a Sunday School teacher, but possibly might go so far as vocational overseas missions.  God didn't have to give me the full picture for me to feel as if He had some special purpose for my life.  I'm actually really thankful I didn't know it all at that time.  No wait.  I'm sure I still don't know it all as I'm only thirty now!

Flash forward three years later.  A young man in my church seemed to be called to preach.  On occasion, he would fill in for my pastor on Wednesday nights.  He was a good friend with more of a romantic interest on his end.  He was very persistent, with very thoughtful gifts and dates he planned out really well.  I knew God had a special call on my life, but not knowing what, and with this young man that might be called to preach or something along those lines really pursuing me, I thought maybe God wants me to be a preacher's wife! 

I had the preacher's wife part right, just the wrong young man!  It was also during that summer that I met my husband, and it wasn't long before God made it clear that the other man wasn't the one for me.  That fall, I stood in front of my second-grade teacher's classroom, and felt certain that teaching would also be part of my future, and I'd known for a long time where God would have me go for my college education. 

I did use that college degree to teach first-grade for two years, but God's calling on my life, as I came to discover, wasn't to be based on whatever feelings I was having during a particular season in my life.  It was to be measured against Scripture.  He does use events in our lives and other people's teaching to lead us to certain actions, vocations, and minstries, but ultimately he has some broad calling for all Christian women. 

  • "A woman should learn in silence with full submission.  I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent.  For Adam was created frst, then Eve.  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.  But she will be saved through childbearing, if she continues in faith, love, and holiness, with good sense." -1 Timothy 2:11  God won't call us to a job that a man should be doing.
  • "Wives, be submissive to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." -Colossians 3:18  Women are to go where their husbands go.  If his job moves you, you go.  We shouldn't attempt to live lives in two seperate places.  Nor should we worship in two seperate churches.  Go to church with your husband and join where you go so you can be in active service there.  If you're single, prepare your heart to submit to your husband as if to the Lord.  If you're not ready to do this, you're not ready to marry.
  • "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people." -Titus 3:1  'Nuff said.
  • "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.  For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers." -Romans 8:28-29  This is the reason I think we need to be careful with the word "calling".  We are called out from the world.  As we grow more and more into the image of Jesus, we will understand better what God would have us do with our lives.  Teens and young adults, be careful what you say God has called you to do.  He may make it more clear to you over time, or He may just want you to trust Him and go where He leads you on a day by day basis.
  • I look at Hannah in 1 Samuel and Psalm 127:3-5 and know being in the home is a place of great influence, especially in my children's most formative early years.  I have more power in the world while being in my home than anywhere else.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday's Woman Guest Post by Mindy

Yay!  I'm very excited to have my friend, Mindy, sharing about her own Titus 2 mentor today.  Mindy and I went to college together, and she was spiritually mature even then.  She met and married her husband their freshman year, had a baby a couple of years later, and she still graduated on time with a great GPA!  I was always very impressed! 

Here's what Mindy shares with us today:

My friend Tonya is the biggest Titus 2 woman in my life right now.   About 5 years ago I decided to make her my mentor, and I am so thankful that God put her in my life.  One of the biggest things that I’ve learned from Tonya is how to show hospitality.  She has a way of making you feel completely at home and welcome.  She gets what it really means to be hospitable. It’s not about spending  the 5 hours before people arrive super cleaning your house and cooking a visual masterpiece of a meal so that people will be impressed.  Instead, it’s about showing the love of Jesus in your life. By having people in your home, you’re opening up your life to them in a more intimate way.  If you have Christ, what better way to share Him than by welcoming people into your life?  There’s something about sharing a meal around a person’s table that opens up doors, that lets people see who you really are.  Some of the most encouraging times we’ve had have been spent hanging out in Tonya’s living room talking through  whatever questions we have or whatever is going on in our lives.
                Tonya and her family are also a part of an organization called RYFO that cares for touring musicians by offering them a place to stay while they pass through the area, feed them, let them take showers…really just helping them with basic conveniences that we take for granted.  Most travelling bands don’t have the budget for a hotel room every night so they will sleep in their van, outside, or wherever they can find.  Through RYFO, bands that are passing through the area can stay at a host home. Tonya’s family has had the opportunity to share Jesus in a tangible way.  She and her husband are effective because they are not only telling these musicians about Christ, she is offering them a place to sleep, cooking meals for them at 1am when the band comes in from a show, and staying in contact with the bands they meet through facebook (it’s NOT just a time waster!).
                Earlier this year, we moved to a new city so I don’t get spend nearly as much time as I’d like with my friend, but I hope I’ve learned enough to make people feel as welcome in my home as I have been in hers.

Mindy is a homeschooling mom of three kids.  She and her husband serve as a CARES team in their community through Apartment Life.  You can find her blogging at Mindy's Non-Adventures, a total misnomer!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Femina Post

Not too long ago, I shared some thoughts I had about college debt in this post.  I read a great article talking about the need for women to get their education and prepare themselves to be their husbands' helpers.  That's a poor description, so just read it yourself and enjoy!  May it be an encouragement to married women and wise counsel for teens and college students.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's Baa-aaack! - And She's a Good One!

I promised the return of Wednesday's Woman in November, and I'm going to keep my promise!  I've got some great ladies lined up to share about their own Titus 2 women, but I'm going to start us back with one of my own.  I believe she can be a source of hope and encouragement for other women too!

Because we live in a fallen world, and previous generations didn't instill too strongly the importance of Christian women marrying only godly men, there are so many women married to lost men or men who aren't bearing their roles of spiritual leader too well.  2 Corinthians 6:14 says, "Do not be mismatched with unbelievers.  For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness?  Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?" - and it goes on from there until the end of the chapter talking about our need to be separate from any unclean things or people.  We've got to train our daughters to only marry godly men, where to find them, and how to remain virtuous until the day God has appointed they find them.

I'm going to try not to run off onto a tangent that lasts too long here...But, I see single Christian women often flirting with the wrong kind of men while ignoring good catches altogether, and it drives me bonkers!  Bad boys do not bring lasting happiness!

So back to my Wednesday's Woman.  My husband's paternal grandmother, Louise, was a precious, godly woman in every way imaginable.  She was married to a lost man, Fred, for many, many years.  She bore him seven children.  She was a helper to him in their home.  Divorce was never a thought.  She only did what God commanded her, "Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the Christian message, they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live, when they observe your pure, reverent lives," 1 Peter 3:1-2 HCSB.

We don't see this often in today's culture.  Even Christian women may divorce their lost husbands because they don't want their children to grow up in a divided home.  Or, even more often, Christian women will live with their lost husbands but not bear submissive spirits and nag their lost husbands about what they should be doing (going to church, leading their families in Bible study, etc.).  This is why I share the example of Granny Louise. 

All those years that Fred was lost, Louise loved him, submitted to his leadership in every way that didn't lead her to sin, and didn't nag him about church.  She prayed for her husband, and she didn't beg him to read Scripture to the kids.  She did it herself, every morning at breakfast that she lovingly prepared.  Fred wasn't walking away from her biscuits, so he heard it too!

As for church attendance, she still got her children ready herself (no excuses that getting kids ready by yourself is too hard!).  Louise didn't have a driver's license, so Fred drove them.  Why not?  She was a good woman to him all the rest of the week, so he was willing to carry her there, even though that meant he had to sit in the car and wait on his family.  No air conditioning in the church meant the windows were open.  Fred heard the preaching of God's word! 

Those years of Louise loving and serving the Lord despite her husband's leadership bore fruit.  Fred accepted Jesus as his Savior in 1966.  Calculating from the time they were married (just prior to Fred's leaving to serve in WWII), I figure they were married about twenty-three years before Fred became the spiritual leader of his home.  And, he began serving in his church.  It wasn't a one-day deal.

Ladies, if your husband is lost, don't give up hope!  Don't stop doing the things you know to be right.  God's timing is perfect!

As for other fruit from this couple: Six of their seven children also came to know the Lord, and I personally know well four of the men were and are mighty men of God.  Three of their four grandsons are in ministry full time, and the fourth grandson is thirteen years old.  God gave Louise a great lineage of grace.  He can do it in your home too!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Preparation is Key, Part 3

It was at the end of a long day, and all I wanted to do was crash on the couch with my husband.  I said so, and my husband asked, "Well, why don't you?" to which I responded, "My next day always goes better when I begin it the night before".


I make it a priority to get that cuddle time for relaxing every evening my husband's home.  It is one of the chief reasons our kids go to bed at 8:00 every night.  But, if I delay it just for fifteen to twenty minutes, I can get the ball rolling so my next day is smoother. If my husband's not home or if we watch TV together, I can take commercial breaks to do even more.  I might even begin these preparations before the kids are in bed.  These are my weeknight jobs:


  • I either load or unload the dishwasher.
  • If I need to pack a lunch or lunches, I do so.
  • I make as much of breakfast as possible.  Sometimes, this is just getting the ingredients together, but other times I can have something completely mixed, wrapped, and sitting in the fridge ready to bake when we wake in the morning.  I might go ahead and bake muffins.
  • Get clothes out for whoever might be going somewhere the next day. 
  • Take a shower.  I used to only do this in the mornings unless I worked out in the evening, but it's nice to have this out of the way when possible.  Plus, freshly shaved legs is nice for romance! 
  • Relax!  Anything else is extra:
  • Get materials ready for projects I intend to do for "homeschool preschool".
  • Wash a load of clothes so I can get right to hanging a load on the line the next day.  Remember not to run a dryer at nighttime if you use one because it is extremely dangerous!
None of this is a requirement, but really a mainly enjoyable part of my routine so that the next day, people aren't seen as interruptions to my day, but as blessings to be enjoyed and blessed in return.  Anything to have that feeling flow more freely!


I'll be linking up to Raising Arrows.  Check out everyone else's ideas for large family organization!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pastor Appreciation

Today is the last day of Pastor Appreciation Month, and I really do deeply appreciate my pastor.  I know his heart more than any other members of his flock because my pastor is also my husband. 

I hear many of the thoughts he thinks as he prepares his sermons throughout the week.  I hear him say often times, as the Holy Spirit has been with him in his study, "This is going to be a good one!" or hear his heartbreak as he knows this week's morning message is going to be a difficult one to share.  He never preaches his opinion, only what he knows to be the right message from God's Word for his people. 

Last month, as I was reading through Ezekiel, I couldn't help but be reminded of my husband.  In Chapter 33, we see how God made Ezekiel to be a watchman to Israel, to guard it from dangers yet unseen by the Israelites. 
The word of the Lord came to me; Son of man, speak to your people and tell them: Suppose I bring the sword against a land, and the people of that land select a man from among them, appointing them as their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows his trumpet to warn the people.  Then, if anyone hears the sound of the trumpet but ignores the warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.  Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but ignored the warning, his blood is on his own hands.  If he had taken warning, he would have saved his life.  However, if the watchman sees the sword coming but doesn't blow the trumpet, so that the people aren't warned, and the sword comes and takes away their lives, then they have been taken away because of their iniquity, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.  As for you, son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel.  When you hear a word for My mouth, give them a warning from Me.  If I say to the wicked: Wicked one, you will surely die, but you do not speak out to warn him about his way, that wicked person will die for his iniquity, yet I will hold you responsible for his blood.  But if you warn a wicked person to turn from his way and he doesn't turn from it, he will die for his iniquity, but you will have saved your life."  -Ezekiel 33:1-9 HCSB
Oh, the rest of the chapter is awesome too, but time doesn't permit me to type it all!  Read it in your own copy of God's Word!   But I must share the end of the chapter!
Now, son of man, your people are talking about you near the city walls and in the doorways of their houses.  One person speaks to another, each saying to his brother: Come and hear what the message is that comes from the Lord!  So My people come to you in crowds, sit in front of you, and hear your words, but they don't obey them.  Although they express love with their mouths, their hearts pursue unjust gain.  Yes, to them you are like a singer of love songs who has a beautiful voice and plays skillfully on an instrument.  They hear your words, but they don't obey them.  Yet when it comes - and it will definitely come - then they will know that a prophet has been among them.  - Ezekiel 33:30-33 HCSB (emphasis mine)
If you've expressed verbally an appreciation for your pastor this month, know that what he desires more than anything is for change to take place in your heart, to see you grow more and more into God's image and to be holy, set apart from the world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Preparation is Key, Part 2

This week, I've got a quickie idea to help families large and small.  Prepare your kids for outings to the mall, grocery store, and any other errands by "laying down the law" before getting them out of the car/van.

Sadly, it seems like my kids do a better job of behaving themselves in public whenever either my husband or I go it alone with them than when we all go out together.  It took me a long time to realize why, but it finally dawned on me a few weeks ago after a less than glorious excursion to buy shoes for all four of the kiddos.

I believe God made my husband and me a great team when he put us together as husband and wife and as parents, but sometimes, pride gets in our way.  I think the reason we don't tell our kids exactly what we expect of them (proactive parenting) when we're together is because we think "we've got this" just a little too much.  Sometimes, I think we need that bit of confidence, but we need to be careful that we're including God in that "We" team. 

When I'm alone with my children on an outing, I realize that it may be a little bit more difficult for me because I've only got two hands for all the little people.  It forces me to remind them that my youngest two must stay seated in the stroller (yep, I do strap the baby in) or grocery cart, and that my two older ones must hold onto the stroller or cart.  No running around.  No asking for things we don't have on the list.  I go down the whole list of P's and Q's, and... they do it.  They need the preparation and the reminder.  Doesn't God give us the same when we need it too?

Don't forget, I'll be linking up to Raising Arrows today.  Check out all the large family living ideas!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Titus 2 Christmas Gifts

Making your Christmas gift list yet?  Here's something we did at our house:

Giving Christmas gifts provides the perfect opportunity to give gifts that encourage behavior or character qualities that God would have us teach to our children.  We found a great way to do just that last Christmas with our four-year-old daughter.
We give each of our four children only one gift each Christmas in an effort to keep the focus on Christ’s birth.  In exchange, we try to make birthdays big celebrations of the gift of each human life God has given us.  With all the gifts that grandparents, aunts and uncles, and church family bestow upon our children, they aren’t missing out on anything by merely receiving one gift from their parents. 
Last fall, the “cleaning” toys our daughters shared fell apart.  The pieces of the little mop were done, falling out of the plastic head.  The vacuum would no longer run no matter how fresh the batteries.  Our four-year-old was heartbroken.  She so loved helping Mommy with all the chores, being a diligent worker at home.  The thought occurred to my husband that we should just find her a vacuum cleaner that would be small enough for her to actually begin to take on the vacuuming chore with me in a real way.  Without much hunting at all, the perfect adjustable handled yellow vacuum cleaner was found.
Our daughter was so eager to find out what was inside the biggest box under our tree!  And once she opened her gift, she was ready to get started helping around the house!  Some assembly was required, so once Daddy finished his part, our daughter began helping vacuum the house.  Some weeks, we divide the work, and it takes us half as much time to vacuum as when I previously did it alone.  Other weeks, she and her older sister switch off rooms, and I get the week off from vacuuming!  I’m so happy to see my daughters preparing to be homemakers in their own homes one day!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Birth Control

Nope.  I'm not going there myself.

I'm glad someone else is writing about this controversial topic instead of me!  A friend of mine from seminary days is a contributor for Prayer of Hannah, and while I began reading because of our friendship, I have come to enjoy reading all of the ladies' thoughts there.  One of my blog "followers" in also a contributor at POH.  This month, they are writing about birth control, and I thought I'd let my readers know in case you're interested.  I've linked to only one article there, but click on the sidebar on "birth control" to read all of them.

The only thing I'd like to share on this topic is about an experience I had with my OB-Gyn before the birth of my fourth child.  Natural family planning doesn't aid my husband and me with the spacing of our children.  I still find myself pregnant sooner than I anticipate each time we attempt to implement it.  No problem because we want a big family and believe God has greatly blessed us with each precious gift He has given us.  However, we were interested in talking to my Christian doctor about an IUD.  We had questions about it because I knew of several Christian women who used them happily.  His immediate response?  No way!  He knew of our pro-life convictions and believes IUDs work in an abortive way because ovulation still occurs, implantation of a potentially fertilized egg is how they stop pregnancy from occuring.  It's amazing how many Christian women, otherwise pro-life thinkers, use these.  Talk to your doc about your concerns.  I praise God for a Christian doctor who kept me from using one!

Hope you enjoy Prayer of Hannah!  Maybe I can get some guest posts from these ladies some time in the future! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Preparation is Key, Part 1

I was so excited to see that Amy at Raising Arrows is going to be hosting a blog link-up on Tuesdays that is perfect for me!  It will be all about large family organization!  I need to learn so much in this area, while I do have a little to share too.  If you don't have a large family, you may still be able to benefit from the ideas shared.

The most important tip I have for keeping my sanity and enjoying my large family is to prepare, prepare, prepare!  I believe I have three weeks worth of ideas in the department of preparation, so I'll break it up into three parts.

I've got to confess that my flesh is pretty weak.  Anytime I see a young mom, and she wasn't at church the previous Sunday, I try to let her know I missed her.  It really is completely in love, not at all judgmental, until...she says something like, "It's just so hard to get the kids ready on time," or "We overslept.  Sorry."  Then, I know my heart has a long way to go because my holier-than-thou attitude starts creeping into my thoughts.  There's no need to apologize to me because I was able to enjoy myself in corporate worship whether or not that woman and her family were there.  I know these are excuses because I get four children ready mostly by myself. 

Here's the better thing to do.  Rather than becoming prideful, I must teach younger women the tricks of preparing my children for worship.  This is discipleship.

We begin preparing for Sunday morning long before we get up that day. 
First, laundry is prepared during the week.  Adult clothes are washed on Tuesdays here, and the kids' clothes get washed on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  No major digging around to find what we need.  The change of seasons sometimes means I may have to hunt on Saturday morning to pull out appropriate attire, but not usually.

 Before the kids even get their baths on Saturday night, I have everyone's clothes hanging in one location.  For me, that's the exercise bike sitting in our den.  It's not pretty, but I know where the clothes are on Sunday morning.  We can be even more prepared if I have the children pull out all of the right shoes the night before.  If the season calls for them, I also find all of the tights we need.

Everyone gets a bath the night before and goes to bed on time.  For us, that's 8:00 for the kids and 10:00 for mom and dad.  No one is allowed to doze off during worship.


 Iron all the clothes.  I do this once the kids are in bed because it stresses me a little to have a large, hot iron (A.K.A. a death trap) on while my accident prone children are awake.


Pull out everything you need to fix hair and have a general idea of how everyone's hair will be fixed before retiring for the evening.  I have three girls and love to fix their hair in as many different ways as possible.  Women at church have asked me if I get up at dawn to fix their hair, but I try not to spend more than twenty or thirty minutes on all three heads of hair unless we just happen to have all kinds of free time once we get started.  If you're new to doing hair, don't try something new the first time on a Sunday morning.  At least practice first to have some idea of how long it will take, so you can plan accordingly.

Set the alarm clock if you need it.  We can actually sleep in on most Sunday mornings, at least a little bit in comparison to weekday mornings.  Our Sunday school starts at 10:00, two hours later than school for us.  

Relax and enjoy the benefits of your preparation.  Even with my preparations, things can still go wrong.  Satan will try to spoil your best efforts.  Don't let him win.  Turn on some worship music to prepare your heart.

*Full disclosure:  I have the benefit of living next door to our church.  I know that helps!  In the past year, I've not arrived to Sunday School on time except once!  I let the baby sleep for his morning nap until the last minute, but only he and I ran late.  When he dropped the morning nap, we were able to go to church on time again this past Sunday.  Use your judgement.  I believe a well-rested baby is a happy baby for nursery workers.  With my first, I did set the alarm clock to wake earlier on Sunday morning so that she could get her nap out and still get to Sunday School on time.

Don't forget to read others' ideas at
 <a href=”http://www.raisingarrows.net” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://www.raisingarrows.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/LFO-icon2.jpg” alt=”Large Family Organization @RaisingArrows.net” width=”125″ height=”125″ /></

And just in case, I can't get that button to work, here's the link to Raising Arrows.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Fall, Y'all!

It's beginning to look a lot like autumn around my house.  Some signs of the times:
 garland of painted leaves my four and three-year-olds made using this idea



 updated my mantle with this free printable, which comes in multiple colors



 pulled out my old wreath from A.C. Moore



 This is my "keeping it real" shot.  The rest of my porch needs some work.



 While on a date night recently with my hubby, I picked up some pansies...



and some mums.  (No, they're not in bloom yet, but any day now.  The better to enjoy them longer!)

What are you doing new with your homemaking now that it's cooling off a little?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday's Woman - To be Continued

When I began this blog, I really desired to do profiles of Titus 2 women because so many women think they can't be Titus 2 women, that they are some way not prepared, that it is too difficult a task, etc.  I wanted to show how easy it can be if we keep our eyes open for the relationships God brings us.

I never want to pressure myself to stretch to come up with a Titus 2 woman or a woman who found herself in a Titus 2 moment, so I need to hear from more of you (blogger or not) about the women in your lives while I watch for more profiles I want to write.  Since volunteers aren't throwing themselves on me, I'll be looking for victims (otherwise known as friends willing to do a favor given a little encouragement).

I'm going to give myself until November to start Wednesday's Woman up again.  If this is the main feature you're interested in, hang with me, and read on some other topics in the mean time!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Working with the School System

Blogging opens one up to criticism.  That's one of the chief reasons I didn't write a blog for a long time.  I have been fortunate to avoid open criticism since I started Titus 2 Moments, but just last week I read someone else's comments on an article she had written as part of a linky party at Time Warp Wife. 

This woman had written "Why We Choose Public School", a potentially controversial topic for a group of very conservative women, and in the blogosphere, it seems more of the stay-at-home set are homeschoolers as well.  A comment had been left by someone saying that the blogger was just taking the easy way out and ignoring God's mandates in how she should rear her children.  Poor girl.  There were many more positive comments, so I hope the blogger felt more encouragement rather than bashing.

I feel I see both sides.  I was educated in one of the best school districts in the state of South Carolina and was very well prepared for college.  I chose to go to an incredible private, Southern Baptist college, but being an elementary education major I felt more prepared to teach in the public school system than anywhere else.  My professors taught me to live and die by the state and national standards as I prepared lesson plans, though I did have an "educate the whole child" mentality.  I worked a few long-term subs in public schools since I graduated in December, but ultimately signed a contract and taught two years in a private, Christian school in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Teaching first-graders in a private school was an eye-opening experience for me.  These were not just wealthy children, but many of the parents were struggling to put their kids in a Christian school because they believed it was what was best for their families.  I've come to see now it is much more affordable to homeschool than to try a private school route.  I did have one parent in those two years I did feel was just paying me to do all of the teaching, nevermind that he also needed help at home every day, but on the whole, I had parents who worked with me strongly.  And for me personally, it was great practice for parenting to be able to use scripture to correct and train children's hearts, not just their minds, something I didn't have the opportunity to do in public school.

I do believe there's a large segment of parents choosing public school because it is the easiest route to take.  I do not ignore that many of those parents are not eduating their children in many Christian disciplines.  That's inexcusable.

Right now, my oldest daughter is in public school.  I expect that will change over the next couple of years, but today, I am happy with public school.  I've written about the ways it has been blessing for us in the first year.  Still, homeschooling is likely on the horizon, but I may write about the reasoning for that when we start.

Until then, I'll do what I can to be involved while I "homeschool preschool" my three others at home.  Here is a way my involvement in my oldest daughter's education has worked in a situation in this last week.  I've decided to call her Princess M to make explaining easier.

Princess M and her classmates were given stickers to use in a picture and use as a writing prompt.  Princess M told her teacher she did not want the Halloween sticker because we don't celebrate Halloween in our family.  Not being with me at all times has at least twice now, that I'm aware of, given Princess M the opportunity to make decisions in the way in which she was trained.  I'm proud of that.  Instead, Princess M got a sticker of a seashell and still was able to write a story. 

This little conversation with her teacher prompted her teacher to ask me what she could do to make sure Princess M wasn't left out and that we were not offended in any way.  Good teacher.  By the way, we don't require any special care.  Princess M will throw away anything she's given with a skull on it.  A mere pumpkin is not offensive.  The teacher also let me know of a unit the first-graders would be studying in art.  I didn't care for it at all, and addressed my concerns with the art teacher in a kind manner, letting her know that Princess M would not be in art as that particular unit was studied, but that I would be happy to work with her using the same techniques and medium that the other students would be using.  The art teacher appreciated my willingness to do the extra work on my part, but just decided instead to do a different unit. 

This week, I am thankful that other parents with the same types of concerns as mine, but who must work outside the home and may not be able to homeschool their children, can work with the school system.  If we always keep the lines of communication positive with teachers whether in public or private schools, we can be a part of educating our children.  We can still be the ones who pray with, teach Bible to, and disciple our children should we not be able to homeschool.  AND, I am so thankful God enabled me to be home with my children in their most formative years so that when they do need to make decisions without me around, their world view is like this:  (in the words of Princess M) "Why do they celebrate Halloween?", not "Why don't we celebrate Halloween?" - She doesn't feel she's missing out at all.

*We'll be celebrating Reformation Day October 31. 

*Linking up to Gratituesday:
Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Avoiding College Debt

I write today with a sense of victory!  God blessed me to successfully rid my home of an unwanted visitor: a lizard!  My husband was doing some work outside Tuesday, and unfortunately, with the coming and going in and out of the house, the little lizard inadvertently made his way into our home.  My husband was unable to get him out, so the lizard hung out in our study for a couple of days.  My husband was gone today, so I had screamed a few times as I walked into the study.  Yesterday, the lizard was actually sitting on the warm computer screen.  Try as I might, I couldn't get the lizard with a crab net we had as our only means of catching him.  Finally, he made his way onto my desk chair while I had the door open.  I took the whole chair outside, while my second daughter was cheering me on.  "Good idea, Mommy!" she cried.

Anyhoo, I'm feeling good.

I wanted to write today to high school girls in particular.  There was the petition going around on Facebook (actually I only saw it on one friend's page), but it was encouraging people to sign for the president to consider forgiving federal college loans as a means to stimulate the economy.  Do huh? 

Proverbs 22:7 says, "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender".

We do well to avoid debt as much as is possible or we risk being a slave to the lender.  This might mean that the majority of our paychecks in the first few years following college graduation goes to the lending agencies, the government in many cases.

I'm not writing in an effort to encourage or discourage the idea proposed to forgive the college loans, though it is obvious I believe it to be a poor option.  What I would like to do instead is encourage young women to look at all their options before signing on for any college loans.

Consider your life goals.  A few years ago, a friend started an e-mail thread amongst several of us whose husbands had attended the same seminary.  She wanted to know how we should advise young women about career and college goals.  There were many interesting thoughts shared about biblical womanhood and how God does or doesn't use our college and career experience as we live out those roles.  One point that stuck out to me personally was that many of us were indeed using our education in our homes as wives and mothers, but that some of us also felt (as did I) that if we'd had a different type of degree, we might could still use it for pay while primarily staying home with our children.  For example, if I'd done cosmetology, I could set my own hours and work from home.  Or, the medical field provides numerous opportunities to work one day a week or for a small number of hours within a month, enabling a woman to even be able to provide medical insurance for her family without an exorbitant amount of time outside the home.  If you primarily want to be home with your children or want to be your husband's helper more than anything, consider your options before you go to college.

Don't discredit technical colleges.  These can either be a jumping off point toward earning your bachelors degree eventually or you could begin your career sooner after spending less money.  Again, back to the medical field again - many positions there pay more money than positions in other fields.  Less money out of pocket initially with potentially a larger paycheck later.  Many employers, in many fields, want skilled employees rather than employees with big time degrees. 

Put the pedal to the medal.  Choose a major and stick with it.  OK, OK, yes God could lead you down a different path than you had planned.  Jumping from track to track could you cost you.  Some of the classes you had previously taken may not apply to the new degree program, and it might take you longer to get your degree than you originally intended.   Then, all of those scholarships you earned will most likely run out after four years of full-time classes.  You can take more than twelve hours at a time if you are a "traditional" student.  Trust me.  I had a higher GPA with twenty hours than I ever did with sixteen (the minimum I ever took at once).  For me, knowing I had to stay on top of it, forced me to manage my time better and be about the business of studying.

Pray and seek scholarships and grants.  God will provide for wherever He's leading you.

If you have to take loans, do the right thing and pay them off in due fashion.  Don't count on anyone to bail you out.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Biblical Wednesday's Woman

Have you started shopping for Christmas yet?  Not yet?  What about making your shopping lists?  That's where I find myself.  Last month, I actually began coming up with gift ideas for my children for my parents and others that ask for those ideas.  I have some ideas in my head for the shopping I intend to do, and I hope to make some orders soon so that I will be free come December to enjoy the season!

All this planning, preparing, and dreaming about celebrating the birth of Christ has me thinking about the biblical account.  I can't help thinking about Mary receiving word from Gabriel that she would conceive the Son of God by means of the Holy Spirit.  How appropriate that she would run to the other woman Gabriel mentioned, her older cousin Elizabeth!

Not much is said about the time the two women had together, but Elizabeth does encourage younger Mary's heart telling her, "How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me!  She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!" (Luke 1:43-45).

Now, we had already seen the obedience of Mary's heart as she said to Gabriel (in verse 38), "I am the Lord's slave...May it be done to me according to your word," but I can only imagine Mary needed the encouragement from Elizabeth.  Many a time in my own life, I have set my heel, determined in my heart, and committed to the Lord something, but have found that at just the time I've needed it most, God has sent me word by way of an older woman to encourage me.  That's what I believe Elizabeth must have been like to Mary.  

Verse 56 tells us that Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months before returning home.  The birth of John comes just after that.  Even though Mary missed the birth, I'm sure the ladies enjoyed being pregnant at the same time.  It is such a fun thing to have overlapping pregnancies with a friend or family member.  The anticipation of multiple lives is a joyous time.  I was one of four teachers in my school at the time expecting babies during my pregnancy with my first child.  Another friend living in the same apartment complex had her first child just three months later.  My brother and his wife had their first child just nine days before my son was born, and I was also able to share that time of pregnancy with a friend at church.  If a younger woman is soon to become a mother, whether by natural birth or through adoption, she does well to look to older women who've gone through the joys and trials of early motherhood to have someone to pray with and share in her own new adventure.

I know many of you are just sick that Christmas decor is already out in the stores, and many of you just want to enjoy Thanksgiving first.  I'm right there with you, but God can use these times to help us to focus on the details of the birth of the long awaited Savior.  I'm thankful that God gave us the example of Elizabeth!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rhonda

So many times in my life, I feel as if I've made a friend just in time to see them move somewhere else or for God to call my family elsewhere.  Praise God for the Internet and free long distance on cell phones! 

Rhonda was one of those friends.  Maybe four or five months before my family last moved over three years ago, I met Rhonda at McDonald's.  She was there having lunch with her two sweet little girls, both close to my oldest daughter's age.  I was there with my girls and my friend, Amy.  Amy and I both felt we'd seen Rhonda somewhere before.  I summoned the courage to ask her where we knew her from. 

As it turned out, we'd seen Rhonda at the library, but not during the story time we attended.  Having been the only two moms at story time for several months (Lord bless the librarian who worked so hard for just our four kids), we were all too excited to invite Rhonda and her girls to join us the next week.

Over the next several weeks, our friendship quickly blossomed.  I very soon saw what a quiet and gentle spirit Rhonda possessed, a lot like Amy, and nothing like me!  Our families all had fun together, and story time grew too!  It was through Rhonda's interaction with those newcomers to story time that I was most impressed.

You know that desire for your children to hang around other kids that have good qualities, manners, and parents that love the Lord?  Please tell me I'm not the only one who was picky about this even in the preschool years.  It makes sense in the teenage years, but preschool? 

I so admired how Rhonda opened her home with great hospitality to a lady at story time with a girl that was a little wild.  I was a young mom that needed to see someone carry out the simple act of allowing her children to be a part of a play date with someone that needed to come to know Christ.  I'm thankful I was able to hear Rhonda lovingly and gently correct a young guest in her home when her mom wasn't around to do it.  She provided fun and simple snacks that made the little girl feel welcome.  It opened the door for Rhonda and her husband to form a relationship with the little girl's parents and invite them to church.

In the meantime, Rhonda's girls weren't ruined.  Playing with this "wild child" for a few hours once a week didn't mess with the training they were receiving on a daily basis.  How I needed that lesson!

Rhonda, just a few years older than me, was a great Titus 2 woman to me, and continues to be through God's great gift of cell phones!


*Remember, if you would like to submit an article for a Wednesday's Woman, please contact me at titus2moments(at)hotmail(dot)com.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

God's Calling on "Our" Time Part 3

I don't do it all.  Whether you are single woman or a wife and mother of ten, you still can't be everywhere at all times.  Choices have to be made based on our priorities.

Here's how I determine if I can be involved in the extracurriculars of church life.  These questions are in no particular order.

Will it mess with my childrens' routine significantly enough to "provoke them to wrath"?  If I attend this, and no one is able to care for my children but me, will it involve my children having to loose too much nap time or eat a meal late?  Tired children with low blood sugar do not make for happy campers.  Babies nap much more often, and I don't want to be tied to the house between naps, especially for the sake of my older children who also need to get out of the house, so if a nap must be missed or shortened, I try to make it the morning nap.  This way, the afternoon nap may be longer.  Plus, it's a long time between the morning nap and bedtime, so the early evening on until bedtime could be pure torture for all parties involved.  This doesn't mean I'll miss one of the "big three" church meetings so my kids can nap or eat on time.  I set the routine so that Sundays flow fairly well.

Can I be with my kids while at this activity?  I'm not opposed to MOPS groups, especially when they meet once a month.  I'm not opposed to an additional small group Bible study when child care is provided or when a babysitter can be secured.  The concern arises for myself, and I hope for others, when I see that I'm not spending enough time with my children.  So if you attend a MOPS meeting, are you also putting your child into someone else's care the next day?  If you work outside the home most days of the week, do you really need to put your child in someone else's care for the evening so you can do something on your own?  Cutting into family time is a danger.

Will my involvement in this activity make me more of a Great Commission Christian?    I love when Southern Baptist women do Woman's Missionary Union right.  We can learn about missions in North America and the uttermost parts of the earth, pray for missionaries (that are depending on us), be a part of giving to missions, and we can plan and carry out mission projects.  I can be a part of reaching the local lost community through our church's visitation program (GROW).  I can invite women and their children to our weekly Story Time that might otherwise have a hard time making a connection only on Sunday mornings.

How much time is involved?  Weekly involvement is harder than monthly.  Some of the weekly involvement is worth it.  Monthly activities should be easier to squeeze into our schedules, particularly if we find it to be something that will make us a part of fulfilling the Great Commission. 

Do I feel God is calling me to be a part of this activity?  It's never a good idea to not follow through in whatever God is calling us to do with our time.  Even if we can't figure out the logistics, God can work those out in ways we never might imagine.  Ministry wives need to learn this lesson early on in ministry:  You don't have to fill a job just because someone else won't take it.  Sometimes asking if God is calling us results in a negative answer.  Don't worry about being people pleasers.

Will it enable me to spend time with older Titus 2 women or to train younger women?  I'm always looking for these opportunities!  Women are busy with their own families.  We have to be open to the times we can spend together!

In case you missed the earlier posts, here they are:
Part 1
Part 2

Monday, September 26, 2011

God's Calling on "Our" Time Part 2

I hope everyone had a great day of worship yesterday!  We had a good day with our church family.  My husband started preaching through the book of Galatians, which leads into my next idea for considering how much time should be spent on church activities.

It's a good idea to try to attend all of your church's main meeting times. 

Now I know some of what I wrote last time sounded legalistic, and that's so not the road I want to go down.  I'm thankful for the gift of grace and that salvation isn't a gift we can earn because it would be impossible for me!  Hear me out on why I think it's a good idea to hit "the big three" meetings. 

First, this is just a part of the worldview ingrained into me by my parents.  It was expected that we would go to church every time the doors were opened.  I didn't buck as a teenager because going to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night was as natural as breathing in and out.  Now, having been in ministry with my husband for some time, I can especially see the value in that training.  If you ever hear a parent say, "I just can't get my child into church," but the attendance during the child's formative years was touch and go, why would it be natural for him/her later in life?  I know that there are exceptions to this rule.  There will be children who buck despite the parents' best efforts.  We can't save our children.  Only God can, and he does it through the work of the Holy Spirit.

"So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ. " - Romans 10:17
We need more preaching in our lives, not less.  The Holy Spirit works through Scripture, the only thing that can truly convict us of our sin.

Also, as a ministry wife, I know the value of hearing the pastor's sermons on both Sunday morning and evening.  My husband preaches many series, which isn't unusual for exegetical preaching.  Currently, my husband is preaching through Galatians.  Everyone at church yesterday morning studied the first chapter, but anyone who missed last night completely missed chapter two.  Throughout the summer, he did a series on the Baptist Faith and Message so that we might have a firm grasp on our doctrine.  Missing some of those messages leaves holes in the bigger picture.

We still do Wednesday night prayer meeting at our church.  My husband has felt led for some time now to preach on prayer after the main prayer time.  Most of those messages are Sunday morning material!  We also need prayer for anything else we do in ministry to be effective. 

Now, we also have missions education for the children and youth on Wednesday nights.  I'm now one of the adults that misses prayer meeting in order to teach, and I do miss it!  That's why I'm especially soaking up my Sunday nights.  It's hard to pour out from your own growth if you're only getting bits and pieces of teaching yourself.

I know many churches don't meet three times a week, some don't meet the traditional days.  We've done church planting in the past, so I know there are more nontraditional ways of doing things.  I'm speaking from where I'm at right now.  And again, I'm not wanting to be legalistic, but it always helps to have a goal in mind.

Before anyone goes to thinking that I somehow do it all, I don't.  I'll be getting to some things I don't participate in and the reasoning behind it tomorrow.