Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bikini Season

It's the time of year for "hot fun in the summertime": swimming in or lounging by the pool, boating on the river, and going to the beach.  I love this time of year because I love to be in the water.  When I'm pregnant (not now), it is so nice to float weightless, and always this time of year, it's just plain refreshing to get out of the heat and cool off a little.  At the beach or the river, our family enjoys God's creation, the beauty of the marshes and the awesome wonders of the ocean.

Head to most any beach or public pool, and you will see many, if not most, girls in bikinis.  I can't imagine letting my little ones run around in nothing more than their underwear covers in front of strangers, though I know it is the norm.  Most modest women reading this are in full agreement with me at this point, but...

I'm not saying we should do away with bikinis.  I own and wear several bikini sets myself.  GASP!  What is the preacher's wife saying?

When modest women dress, they not only need to consider that they're representing God, but they need to dress for their husbands.  If you've got a private backyard or a boat that takes you to a quiet place, your husband may be happy to see you in a bikini and erase any mental images he may have of other women.  If you go on a vacation, don't be afraid to pull out a bikini (or strapless maxi dress) to whoo your husbands, who were designed by God as visually stimulated creatures.  Keep the spark of your marriage alive as you dress for your husbands!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ministering to the Bereaved

Last week, my husband preached his maternal grandfather's funeral.  It was a great honor to him, to be able to reflect on his father's life publicly and to share the gospel with those who need the Lord.

I was unable to attend either of my grandparents' funerals.  I took a toddler and four-day-old baby (along with the aide of my husband and mother-in-law) on a six hour journey to see my grandfather just before his death.  Upon our return home, literally just after walking through the door, I received the phone call that he had passed away.  Grateful to have seen him and had a good conversation telling him about his new great-granddaughter, I didn't want to put my family through the torture of traveling again for his funeral.  When my grandmother passed away, I again had a newborn, less than a week old.  Then, with three children, my husband made the journey alone to help preach her funeral.

Reflecting on these times anew because of our recent "loss" and the gracious love poured out on us, I was reminded of all the good things we can do to show love during times of bereavement.  I have to admit that I had grown a little callous in the way I've handled preparing meals for those in their sorrow.  I needed the reminder of what a ministry it can be to do these simple tasks.

It is incredibly helpful to prepare meals for those going through the loss of a loved one.  When I came home after seeing my grandad, a church member brought our family a meal and a simple Christmas wreath for my door (it was December).  After the long journey, it was nice to just be able to sit down at mealtime.  Again, this time, it was so nice to not have to think about getting meals together.  At least two churches and some coworkers of folks in the family brought meals.  We didn't have to worry about lunch or dinner.  Some great friends (a brother and sister in Christ) even brought breakfast to us one morning.  I hope to not forget this blessing in the future.

Attending a funeral is an especially touching gesture.  One of the ways the pain of a loss is softened is by seeing loved ones.  The impromptu family reunions that come about through funerals is a bittersweet blessing.  Older folks are much more inclined to attend funerals, and I suppose it is because more of them are free to do so because of retirement, but when younger folks can be free, it is so nice.  I was especially touched by one of my husband's cousins (on the other side of the family), her husband, and baby attending the funeral.  I knew it took effort, but I felt such love from them for my mother-in-law.  It was worth it.

Providing childcare is a big help!  My oldest daughter (almost seven) wanted to stand in the receiving line prior to the funeral, and it was great to see her be so ladylike.  On the other hand, there's no way my youngest two, especially, would've made it through that or the funeral.  Praise God for some friends of the family we knew could be trusted to care for our children (mine and my sister-in-law's) for a couple of hours.

Hopefully, going through this time will help me to minister better in the future!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thoughts on Kids' Bible Selection

Mother's Day 2012 may go down in history as my favorite of all time.  "G Bug", my middle daughter, was baptized!  She had made her public profession of faith in Jesus as her Savior two weeks before.  Ever since her sister was baptized on Father's Day last year, she has had many questions about salvation.  Having always struggled with her behavior more than her older sister, she totally understood depravity and the "blackness" of sin.  She knew Jesus was needed to clean it all up, and she came to us (her parents) wanting to have a final talk about making Jesus the Lord of her life.

G Bug just received her first "real" Bible for Christmas this past year.  When we've given our oldest two their Bibles as gifts, my thoughts and prayers have always been that our children could become Christians through reading them.  God has answered those prayers!

Bible selection wasn't easy.  I asked several friends, but many of them (being in the same stage of life as myself) didn't really know what Bible choice was best either.  Now that I've been through this with my husband and been happy with our choices, I thought I'd share how we arrived at them.

First, Scriptural wording isn't a foreign language in our home.  Most mornings, we read from God's word, and for that family time, we often choose to read the Holman Christian Standard because of the literal translation from the original Hebrew and Greek texts and for the easy-to-understand, modern wording.  I'm not saying this is the translation your family should use.  As my husband often says, the best translation is the one you read.  I'm just sharing why we have chosen it for our family.  We also read a children's Bible storybook at bedtime.  These are obviously condensed versions of the stories we know well from God's Word.

Secondly, we considered the translation my husband uses to preach.  What does your pastor use?  This is helpful to consider because beginning readers need all the help they can get to follow along during worship services. 

When my oldest daughter was just beginning to read, and before we bought her Bible, she carried a children's devotional Bible to church, which mainly had pictures and sections of Scripture throughout the book.  She commented to her dad one Sunday that the words he preached weren't in her Bible!  Being a very biblical, expository preacher, that didn't sit well!  We knew she needed the translation he preaches from, which for full disclosure is usually the New King James Version.  Occasionally, he may use another translation, but most of the time, our daughters can follow along when he preaches because they have a Bible with all of the same words.

When our girls were baptized, they were given a copy of God's Word from their church, and this was the Holman Christian Standard version.  This is what they study from during their quiet times and what they memorize.  So finally, we have them using a translation that is easy to understand but that has not departed from the original intent of the authors God inspired to write.  This means they have one Bible for church and one for home use, but it works for us.

I'm not saying that our way is the only way to choose a Bible for a child, but considering all of this really helped us to feel like we were making wise decisions.  Maybe it may help you as well!