Thursday, March 31, 2011

Raising Jeremiah: A Series

"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you,
then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,
whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates,
or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.
But as for
me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15

I LOVE being a mother. Have you guessed that yet? I LOVE BEING A MOTHER! It is absolutely amazing to carry a child inside your body, nurturing and caring for them, as they are hidden in the secret place. It is a delight to experience the full pain of labor and delivery as you bring them into this world.

We LOVE being parents. There are no words to describe looking at the small scrunched up face of your flesh and blood for the very first time. Oh, I could go on and on with this list. It truly is unbelievable to be a parent.

Today Jeremiah was giggling as I was tickling him and I just had to sigh. What a blessing from the Lord! He is such a gift. He is a reward (Psalm 127) that we definitely do not deserve.

The last 15 or so months, as I was pregnant and since Jeremiah has been born, have been a time of accelerated growth for me. I have had to take all I once dreamed of and put it into action. It was finally my time to experience morning sickness, heartburn, crazy dreams, labor, delivery, nursing and child raising!

There have been so many supportive people in our life who have given Godly counsel and advice. There have been a lot of people who have asked us a myriad of questions. I have been pregnant with several good friends (Dawn, Darrah and Katie!) and walked the journey of motherhood with them.
Still, Joel and I are different. We always have been, I guess, and we knew that raising children would set us apart in more ways from the mainstream- even among Christians. We have "radical" ideas, as some call it, and as others would say are "too idealistic." Maybe. Maybe not.

As with all things Joel and I want to be fully surrendered to the Lord in our decision making processes and what we do. We want to make sure that we have sought the Lord in all things instead of just following what everyone does. It may be that in the end we do what most people do, but we still want to know that the direction came from God Himself!

Romans 14, at the very end, after talking about the weak and the strong follower of Jesus, in relation to food sacrificed to idols, states, "and everything that does not come from faith is sin." We get focused so much on the issue of not causing another brother to stumble that many times we completely miss this absolute fact. Romans 14:23 is a verse for ALL followers of Jesus, about ALL decisions in life, across ALL cultures and for ALL time. If it is not done by faith it is sin. Hebrews 11:6 also tells us, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him."

Those are just two verses that remind me to take all my decisions before the Lord before moving forward! I want to please the Lord, not sin and do all things by faith!!!

Many people have asked why we did, do and plan on doing certain things like natural family planning, womb bonding, out-loud pregnancy Scripture memory, natural childbirth, delayed and limited vaccinations, co-sleeping, feeding on demand, attachment parenting, delayed non-parent care-giving, baby wearing, natural solid food timing, baby potty training, realistic toys, spanking, homeschooling, etc., ETC, ETC. I would like to begin sharing why and how we are parenting!

(I never want to cause you, my reader (whoever you may be) to stumble or to feel that I am judging you for your decisions. As I stated here, I just want a place to share, digest and encourage you to, at the base of it, surrender your lives to the Lord- in ALL things. When you read my thoughts on parenting please take it at face value. And, for your home, seek the Lord!)

We are Jeremiah's parents. We have been given the role of raising him. We will answer for what we did or did not do in leading him to know God. We do not take that lightly! We are also not perfect. We am new to this parenting thing. I get really tired and drained. There are days that I have no idea what I am doing. I told Joel last night that I can see how parents can so easily get lazy. I also realize that what I share on this blog may not be what ends up happening in our home. I also know that Arrow #2, when the Lord blesses us again, will be a completely different child! I will probably have to write a whole new series about them!

Parenting is HARD work.

Maybe by expressing some of my thoughts and our convictions here I can encourage you while at the same time challenging myself to really think about what we are doing! I also want it to be a place where we can share ideas. You may have learned something along the way that we need to know!!! (Like HOW in the WORLD do you know when a 6 month old is being curious, playful or defiant? God give us wisdom!)

If you are a parent, the key is always prayer. We cannot do this without the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives! I hope to look back at these posts one day and smile... what an adventure!

Monday, March 28, 2011

M is for: Monday and Ministry

The Junior High Winter Camp last weekend was, to say the very least, interesting. It had been a LONG time since I had been on a trip with youth. It was also my first time doing a trip with ALL Junior High students. Wow.

The drive was beautiful and we had perfect road conditions (thanks for praying!). The camp was stunning and so quiet (minus the Junior High noise). Joel did a wonderful job teaching Friday night (I am SO blessed to be his wife- what an amazing man!). It was almost just like old times spending the weekend with my brother, Ben (another amazing man!). Jeremiah did wonderful (an amazing man in the making!)!

We learned a lot about ministering to Junior High students. There is so much boy-girl drama. There are fewer students seriously walking with the Lord than we thought. We knew the majority of our students come from broken homes, but it was eye opening to talk with them about their personal lives.

I do not have much time to get into this right now, but please be praying for this generation. Step outside your little personal bubble and minister to a Junior High student in your realm of influence. They need Godly adults who will love them, say hard things and correct their foolish ways. Pray for the single mothers trying to raise unruly, disrespectful and distracted children. Pray for the youth leaders in your church.

Just pray!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jr. High Winter Camp

24 hours from now, Lord willing, I will be at the church preparing to leave for the Calvary Chapel Aurora Junior High Winter Camp!

The house is a mess, the laundry is half done, I am still in my pajamas (it is noon), my Bible has not been opened yet today and I have exactly 38 things to do before Joel gets home (in 5 hours).

My lesson last night went well (I think). I pray that the kids students (trying not to call them kids anymore) are thinking about what I said. Joel and I have so many desires for the youth group as we get involved more, but we also realize that change takes time.

Pray for us this weekend as we spend time with 200 people from four churches! Pray for safety on the road (four vans with winter conditions). Pray for me since this is the first time I go on a ministry trip with MY child in tow (SO fun to have a little family to do ministry!). Pray that Jeremiah does well and that the kids students do not smother him (too much)! Pray that we will all draw closer to the Lord and seek His will for our lives. Pray for Ben (my brother, yay!) as he leads worship and Joel (as well as the other men) as he teaches.

Have a wonderful weekend (find a way to serve the Lord)!

Monday, March 14, 2011

M is for: Monday, Ministry and Marriage

I LOVE Mondays now that I am a full time homemaker! The last 10 years I have dreaded Monday morning because it meant crawling out of bed, getting ready and heading to work.

The last six months I have spent Monday at home with Jeremiah, playing with him, cuddling with him, cleaning and doing laundry. I now find Monday to be one of my favorite days of the week!

I am thinking about writing a post every Monday about ministry or marriage. I cannot decide which one, so today I will do both!


The last year God has worked in our hearts to pursue ministry full time. It has been a long process and I may share more details at some point! Needless to say, Saturday and Sunday are quite full now. Joel attends all three (soon to be four) weekend services at church. I serve at the early morning service on Sunday and we attend the second service together. It has been an interesting transition. I miss having all day Saturday to spend together.

Translation: I am selfish and miss having Joel all to myself.

God is teaching us that only what is done for Him and His kingdom are important. It is a blessing to be given the responsibility to minister to people. I love hearing the stories Joel is able to tell me about people he counsels. God is changing lives!!!

Why would I want my husband all to myself if he is able to do the Lord's work?


Joel and I are not perfect. We do not have a perfect marriage. One thing you will never see on this blog and never in person is me criticizing or putting my husband down. (If you ever see it- confront me... seriously!) We made a promise before we were married that we would never do that. We must guard, with our lives, this precious marriage relationship that God has given to us.

I detest, even though that may be a strong word, when people make fun of their spouse, marriage, intimacy or anything related to marriage. There are, of course, funny things that happen between a husband and wife. There are funny characteristics about men and women that are laughable. I am not talking about good-natured teasing.

Marriage is a vulnerable relationship. Joel knows more about me, my weaknesses and my faults than anyone else. I trust that he will not expose my failures to anyone in anyway- seriously or joking about it. When I hear a husband or wife degrading their spouse in a light-hearted manor my blood starts to boil. It is not funny.

The world does a good job at degrading marriage. We should not be joining them. Marriage is a holy picture of Christ and the Church. We should do everything in our power to uphold that image to the world.

Think of the last argument you had with your spouse. Was it about something eternally important? Was it worth getting angry about? Were you being prideful and selfish?

Pray for your marriage regularly. Study the Word of God together. Do everything you can to cultivate the relationship you have with your husband or wife. Work on arguing less. Encourage one another more.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is worth it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Who I Am

Passionate is a word that could be used, I think, to describe me. I am also pretty opinionated about most things. Yet, at the same time, I am reserved and can be pretty quiet. I am not shy by any means, but just like to observe people before I jump into a conversation.

If you read my blog, though, you may be kind of confused and think I go around talking to everyone I meet the way I voice myself on this site. Welcome to the (wonderful?) world of blogging!

I seldom voice my opinionated thoughts with the average person I meet. You have to know me a long time, or bring the subject up yourself, before I would feel comfortable ranting in person about certain convictions or opinions I have. There are times I speak up when I feel it is crucial, but I would say those times are rare. Still, I have a lot of thoughts on a lot of subjects! I desire a place to not only voice them, but encourage others to consider everything as they follow the Lord. Welcome to the (wonderful?) world of blogging!

If I ever sound harsh or blunt please do not take it personally. Instead, be a person that knows why you believe, do and say what you believe, do and say! I am a real person with real struggles. I never want to hide those struggles as I am growing in God's grace. What comes out on this blog is from a heart that is working out her own salvation.
"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."
Philippians 2:12-13
Please continue reading. I have a lot I want to share with you.
"Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end."
Hebrews 3:12-14

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jeremiah's Mommy

It is hard to believe that I am a mother. I dreamed all my life about having children and now I am the mother to an adorable little boy. He will be six months old in just a few days. He is growing and changing so quickly!

I love watching him study something new.

I love giving him a bath.

I love getting him up from his nap.

I even love changing his diapers.

Joel and I talk a lot about parenting. We want to be the best parents we possibly can be. I know I will make many mistakes (and already have). I have had a couple of days in the last six months where I seriously thought I was not fit to be a mother! It is exhausting in every possible way- spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

Jeremiah is starting to show signs that he has a sinful nature. It will not be too long (probably a week!) before we have to discipline him. I pray every day that God will give us wisdom. I want to be intentional in everything I do with him as we discipline, love and nurture him into an adult.

Everything matters when raising a child. I seriously believe that. Everything. Children are like sponges. They soak up what they see and hear. They are aware of our emotions, patterns, habits and desires. They understand more than we really give them credit for understanding! I know Jeremiah will not be perfect. I do not expect him to be. I know he will sin. I know that he will disobey. I know he will pick up all sorts of our bad patterns. He is human and we are, too.

Still, I never want to be a mother that makes excuses for any bad behavior. I cringe when I hear parents say things like, "Oh, it's just a stage they are going through" or "haha, he is going through the terrible twos." (Seems parents have an excuse for lazy parenting at every "stage"!) Christ died to set us free from sin! He died to make us like Himself. He left us on this earth to do HIS will. He wants to make us vessels that are willing to be used.

He did not leave me here to have cute kids. He did not leave me here to make sure my kids each have their own room, birthday parties, a Wii, nice clothes and gobs of toys. He did not leave me on earth to just raise a nice American family. What a waste.

He gave me Jeremiah, first, as a gift and blessing from His gracious hand. He gave me Jeremiah to sanctify me so that I am more like Christ. He gave me Jeremiah to raise in the fear of the Lord! He desires that Jeremiah know Him, serve Him and be a witness of the Gospel of Christ.

And me? I am Jeremiah's mommy. I get to spend my days raising him to be all God desires him to be!