Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sometimes He Calms the Storm, Other Times He Calms His Child

A friend sent me a great article that I read this morning for devotions. This is exactly what I needed to be reminded of this very hour. Why is it so easy in times of pressure to be fearful? I often find myself at this very point. Thinking I'm strong and then when the storms come, not finding my calm in Christ until I or someone else seemingly slaps me as if saying, "Wake up woman!" God is in complete control. He is sovereign. Our mistakes are not big enough to ruin His end plans.
When 20 years of countless prayers didn't fix it, I had to conclude either that God was ignoring me, or that I was asking for the wrong thing. Anxiety used to be my constant companion, and quite honestly he was no fun to hang with. He used to punch me in the pit of the stomach when I least expected it and his ravings kept me awake at night.

Every time a circumstance emerged that caused him to appear, I begged God to change it so I would not be anxious. Rarely, if ever, did he answer those prayers. Finally, I concluded that the circumstances were not the problem, but the anxiety itself was. My prayers changed. I stopped begging him to fix my circumstances and instead asked him to remove my anxiety. It only took a decade this time for me to realize these prayers weren't working any better and I grew incredibly frustrated at God's seeming indifference to my concerns.

I didn't know then that in God's heart my problem was not the circumstances that allowed my anxiety to emerge, nor even the anxiety itself. The problem God wanted to fix was the fact that I didn't trust him to work in my circumstances to accomplish his purpose. My desire to be in control of my own life and achieve the success I thought I needed to prove my worth to him, and ultimately to myself, was the real captor.

Anxiety was only the symptom of a deeper need that God wanted to expose and heal with a clearer revelation of who he is and what he wanted to do in me. Many of you have read the chronicle of that journey in these newsletters and in He Loves Me! The more he showed me how great he was and how much he loved me, the less often I met with anxiety. Even though my circumstances had not changed, my trust in him had. I have ended up not even wanting God to satisfy my agenda anymore, but just to let me live in his every day.

In my best wisdom I had been trying to get God to fix the wrong thing. Real freedom didn't lie in conforming my circumstances to my expectations or simply removing my anxious thoughts. He wanted to build a relationship with me that would set my heart at rest regardless of the circumstances that came my way. For thirty years I had sought a cheap substitute for the real fix.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Brian O Brian

Since Brian is my incessant talker and incessant busy body. He gives me plenty of things to get frustrated with and laugh at.

At supper we were talking about our weekly achievements and goals for the next week and I was sharing that I was sorry that I had been so on edge and quick to snap and that it was my goal to get back on track and be gentle with my words and no yelling. And Brian asks, "Like Matthew's mom?". I smiled and said, "Yes." He added, "GOOD!"


Brian: Have you even seen me while I'm sleeping? I'm telling you, I'm like an angel.


As Brian was showing off his "skills" as he calls them, showing us how he knows karate, kicking, punching etc, he slipped and fell. He jumps to his feet and says, "Did you see that? That was my falling down skills."


Dancing with the Stars was on last night. I don't know what I even stopped to watch the couple dance, other than it was Steve O and was curious if he could dance and if he was taking it seriously. Anyhoo,
I said: "Wow, she is really pretty." And by that time they were showing all the girls in the competition, and I quickly realized why we don't watch this show and turned off the TV. But it was too late. They had been spotted.
Brian pipes in: "they are ALL pretty."
Me: Like me!
Brian: Yep. And they are skinny too.
Me: Like Me! (Obviously joking)
Brian: Umm, not really. And the girl in the red (Holly the Playboy Bunny wearing a 2 piece red outfit and outflowing out of the top) is sexy!
(Oh great!)
Brian: Mom, you're not even a little tiny bit sexy.
Me: So is it good or bad that she is so sexy Brian? (thinking I'm about to have a sit down discussion with all the kids on the topic of modesty stemming from my at my temporary lack of sanity at even turning the TV show on.)
Brian: Bad. Sexy girls don't love Jesus do they.
So I left it at that for the time being and realized that we'll have to come back to the topic of judgementalness.

Ahh....I've never said that, but the power of relational assumptions. We have often talked about choosing to dress in a modest way and while we not doting all dresses and hair coverings, we aren't letting our girls leave the house in midriffs and mini skirts. I don't want my girls to be viewed that way or be a temptation for sin for other young boys and men.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kiss Me I'm Irish

Being that it is St. Patrick's Day, I mentioned to Gabby that Grandpa Findley's family had originally came from Ireland and that we were part Irish. And that is why several of the Findley's have red hair. As shock distorted her face she blurts out, "So I'm a Leprechaun??!! That's why I'm so short? Is that why I have pointy ears? I bet that's why I can do the dance like the Irish girls (aka Riverdance) so well. I had no idea I was a Leprechaun!"

Why yes sweetie you are!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sweet Makensie

I have so many things that I have written down that I want to journal about that are swimming through my head that I'm having a difficult time seperating all my thoughts.

Makensie has given me several reasons to smile recently.

*As I'm swatting what seems like hundred's of flies that have invaded our home from leaving the back door open for a couple of hours...Makensie says, "Ahhh, how sweet. One of the flies is giving the other a ride on his back." SPLAT!

*I got a single Always Pad sample in the mail. Brian opened it and asked what it was, Makensie explained, "It is a diaper for grown ups. They have to wear it so they don't pee the bed at night." He seemed fine with that answer, so I let well enough alone.

*Gabby asks me how it is possible that a baby starts to grow in your tummy. Makensie explained, "Boys have seeds and when they kiss their wife it goes up through their mouth and into the mouth of the momma and then plants in their bellies. That's why you don't kiss until you are married." They both seemed fine with that answer, as was I, so I'll leave well enough alone until further notice.

*I was talking with friend A and she mentioned that a volunteer, let's call her friend B, had lost her husband. I went over to friend C's house later to pick something up. I explained that friend C would not be joining us that night because of her husband. (He had to work late). Makensie felt so sorry for them and explained to Gabby in a panic, "Landon's daddy died!" (This would be friend C's husband). I did have to explain this entire situation and previous conversation over about 5 times before we were all on the same page.

*And finally, while trying to get out the door, I'm brushing Makensie's hair, Wyatt was up on the countertop trying to catch Jennifer, the hampster, or "hennifur" as he calls her. Brian is yelling at him to, "Close it!" Wyatt is yelling back in some kind of gibberish translated as "leave me alone!" I say, "Brian, do not talk to him like that, be gentle." Makensie who has her back to scene and has no idea why Brian is saying "close it" thinks he is upset with Wyatt's yelling, and tells Brian, "We don't say 'close it', we say, 'put a sock in it!' ". Absolutely. That sounds much more polite. :)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Why We Homeschool

I continually find God's timing perfect. I was feeling rather defeated last week. While there are many rewards to homeschooling, is not without it's challenges. One that falls in both categories is being at home with the kids day in and day out. We are here alone. I have no family, on which I can call for just an afternoon of help and that takes a toll on my heart and mind at times. The big yellow bus would be a beacon of light most days. I could get my house clean, I could read a book without having to hide in the bathroom, I could have some peace and quiet, I wouldn't have to plan lessons, field trips, play dates.

My kids are imperfect. They don’t always listen, want to do school or think I know best. It was difficult at 1st to sit and teach without butting heads. Then I realized that I had much bigger problems if I couldn’t teach them and gain their respect as young children and so that gave me even more reason to work with their attitudes and hearts. I of course have also thought about how much more successful Allen's business could be if I could help him more. And wouldn’t you know, then a lady approached me and asked me to tell her why we chose to homeschool. I’m glad she gave me time as I needed it to really think about my answers. I had lost sight of the whys. And then I have had 2 more ladies approach me since. So God must has intended for me to search my heart closely. I’ve included scriptures as every human opinion is debatable and His Word is not. This is my answer.

The more I typed, the more I wanted to share and I’m thankful that she asked as it helped me search and pray to find my “why” again. Please know that what ever anyone's decision, while we do feel strongly that this is the best option for us and our family, we do NOT think this means we are better or wiser than anyone else. Nor are we judging anyone for not choosing this same path.
The main reason we are homeschooling is that we are to raise Christians.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

Isaiah 54:13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

We have the opportunity to teach what the Bible says God’s perspective is on every subject. We start each morning with prayer and Bible study. If things are going awry during the day, we can stop and pray. Our history is all paralleled to the Bible. Science is about God’s world. This is the reason. Everything else is just a bonus.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

Did I tell you I sent the girls to public school for 2 months and then pulled them out? I sent them because quite honestly, I didn’t care about the end results for the time being, I just needed a break. Afterall, we live in a predominately Christian town, it is a dry county, we have more churches per capita than any other town. There are many Christian teachers. I felt that it would be fine, everyone else does it. I didn’t feel led by God, Allen didn’t like it, but at the time it was all about me and I was empty. I needed the time. I wanted my house clean! Then after bullies, a rude bus driver, kids teaching my kids things I didn’t want them to know about. Teachers and kids treating my kids in a way I want to shelter them from. Makensie feeling like she was stupid because she wasn’t catching on as quickly as everyone else, I pulled them out.
Now Makensie has no idea what she is “suppose” to be doing or if she is behind. She is improving, but more importantly she is not a number or an inconvenience to me because she needs additional help. I can specifically meet her where she is at. She is 8 and can babysit better than some 15 year olds, can make just about any meal, can organize just about anything, for Valentines day she made a recipe from Paula Deen, a red velvet cake – from scratch! Her gifts are hospitality, detail and empathy. She is amazing, but she lost her God given talents in a blur when all that mattered was the spelling test score. And most importantly I hear my kids discussing God with each other throughout the day, they have a true relationship with Him.

2 Timothy 3:16,17-. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works

Most of the statistics show overwhelmingly that homeschool students outscore public school students academically in every subject and on every grade level. It is after all, tutoring a student one on one.

We feel that they are too young to be expected to go alone into battle, not against flesh and blood but against satan himself. Their young minds are still moldable and need shaping. And we want to mold them to take on righteous view of all things. I’ve heard it said we need Christian kids in school, but at what age? Would we not train a soldier before sending him into battle?

Ezekiel 16:20-21 Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them?

Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

We no not want the school, the teachers or peers to have the predominant position of influence on our children’s hearts or minds.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

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

1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Psalms 119:97-104 MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

We feel that our children are our responsibility. School seems to be the only government program, that everyone is ok with. It is little more than free babysitting for a lot of families. We are personally constantly struggling financially often being ridiculed by family that we could do better to put the kids in school and me return to work. Looked down upon if we were to accept government help, but for millions taking hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for the schools to raise their children so they can pursue 2 incomes, it is socially acceptable. For me it came down to the question of what is my reason to not homeschool and since it was a selfish reason I felt that if I didn’t do it, it would be the sin of knowing what I was suppose to do and not doing it.

Hebrews 2:13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

Matthew 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

What about Socially? I am trying to raise our children to be respectful and loving and bear good fruit. If they were allowed to be around 30 other kids all day they are only going to rise to the social level of their peers. Their friends will be who they are exposed to either through school, church or other activities. I want to protect their innocence as long as possible. With homeschooling we get to choose which families we will be interacting with. The kids get to be around a wide range of ages. Most of the kids do not view each other by grade but that they have the common bond of being Christians and being homeschooled.

We belong to the Christian Home Educators of Siloam Springs (CHESS). There are more opportunities and events to participate in that we have time to take advantage of. Currently each of the kids are currently writing books, working on a science fair project, there is a homeschool activity at the library weekly, there are get together for the levels (elementary, middle school, high school). The statistics show that homeschool children are generally more mature acting and more responsible and show higher self esteems.

Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

This was from an article I found:

In our Lord Jesus and His Word, the Bible, we have all we need for spiritual and moral decisions in life. The best reason for choosing home education is that it is God's revealed plan for raising our children. The Bible knows no other system of education. God did not prescribe schools for His people; they were invented by others. The pages of Scripture espouse, by precept and example, a process that closely resembles what we call home education.

The Teachers:
Throughout the Word it is the parents who are assigned the role of teaching their own children. The primary responsibility rests on the father. God said of Abraham,

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him (Genesis 18:19).

Paul gave this guidance under the Holy Spirit's inspiration:

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Of course, as the man's helper (Genesis 2:20-23), his wife is also a teacher of the children.

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother (Proverbs 1:8; Proverbs 6:20).

Even the grandparents are to share in the teaching task: speaking of God'scommandments,

Moses said to God's people, ... but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons (Deutoronomy 4:9).

The Goal:
Education ought not to be seen as an end in itself. Nor should it be viewed in terms of mere academic or social preparation for life. Knowledge, by itself, is nothing and leads only to pride (Knowledge puffeth up... 1 Corinthians 8:1). We could give our children the very best academic preparation in the world, and only end up making them more effective instruments in the devil's hands. No, God has something higher in mind. Understood in its broadest terms, education is character training. God is in the business of transforming people. He is creating a people who have a living relationship with Himself. The beginning of the process is simply to take God seriously in everything or, as Scripture has it: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge ... (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). The end of the process is mature people who know God; and who, knowing Him, love him; and who, loving Him, obey Him in all things. The path of safety and blessing is always that which adheres most closely to the revealed will of God. Home education as we practice today falls short of the perfect pattern set forth in the Scriptures, but it is certainly a big step in the right direction-because home education is God's idea.
I asked the kids if someone who didn’t homeschool was thinking about it what would you say? And here are their answers:

Makensie: I get to spend more time with my mom. When I was at school I didn’t get to see her very much. There was lots of bullies and my bus driver was really mean. My mom sits right beside me and helps me when I don’t understand my school. I get to do field trips. I get more play time. I’m writing a recipe book as mom has taught me to cook. I get to study the Bible. I want to homeschool my kids. These are the reasons I like to homeschool.

Gabby: I like doing Math, it is fun. I like being able to be at home. At real school we didn’t get to see our mom very often and only a little bit and I missed her. Homeschooling is really fun, when you read., your mom is always there to help you when you need help. We get to do arts and crafts. at Homeschool you get to go places and seeing things and sometimes get a soda or go walking. Last week I went horseback riding and took a tour of the bakery and made 2 loaves of bread by myself at home. We get more time to learn about God and praising God and read the bible. If you homeschool you get to do all these fun activities, and show your talents. I’m writing a book. We cook and paint. I would like to homeschool my children so I’ll have more time to spend with them to do arts and crafts and play with them and so that’s why I like homeschooling.

Brian: Math is really easy. That’s all I got.

As far as my personal support, the moms get together once a month in the evening for time and fun and learning. I have a wonderful prayer and accountability partner with whom I meet biweekly. We are all in a yahoo group and share struggles, successes, everything, staying in the loop for events etc. There are almost 100 families that homeschool and participate in the Siloam Springs area.

Once again, we are only responsible for our own decisions for us and are family and have no hard feelings towards anyone that does choose to use the public school system. It is a very personal and individual decision between you and The Lord. May He guide you and make straight your paths.

Love in Christ

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Intimate Allies

I'm reading this book - slowly but surely - Intimate Allies by Dan Allander and Tremper Longman. I started this book literally years ago and have picked it up and then put it aside many times. But I did make it through another chapter that was at God's perfect timing as usual.

Here is on of my favorite paragraphs from this chapter.

"God does not exclusively fill the human heart. He made humankind to need more than himself. The staggering humility of God to make something that was not to be fully satisfied with the Creator and the creation is incomprehensible."

I had never thought about the fact that man is not fulfilled by God alone, but that we need that relationship, it is part of us.


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