Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This world is not my home

I went to the gym early this morning after nursing the baby at 4ish.  Because I missed the beginning of  Spinning class, I used the elliptical machine. Unfortunately with no music or teaching, I was forced watch the numerous TV screens on the wall.  What a sad world we live in -- always striving to fix the outer man, make sense of the horrific violence, secure vengeance, and compete. What a whirlwind of unsoundness displayed on those screens, begging for attention.  My 30 minute aerobic workout made me so glad that this place is not my home.  So glad that I do not have to be out braving the madness today.  So glad that I am able to stay home and train my children, clean my house, and live my life unto my Father. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Caleb

Caleb and I went camping yesterday!  I was nervous about the evening because each child was to go a different direction.  Our kids have never been separated for any length of time.  Last night, Caleb went camping, Evelynn went to her grandparents' house, and Sophia stayed at home with Daddy.  Caleb repeatedly asked where Evie was and reminded me that he missed her. Our two eldest kids are like peanut butter and jelly; they just go together.  With that said, Caleb and I had a wonderful time!  12 hours of exclusive mommy-son time.  We played tug-o-war, searched for frogs, played in the sand, watched a movie on the huge inflatable movie screen, ate smores, danced and generally enjoyed each others company.

I've been asking God to work with my heart in regards to Caleb.  Being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom means I am with these kids 24/7.  And an energetic, inquisitive 4-year old boy (14 waking hours a day!) can be a little...well difficult at times.  God's been working with me in a number of areas to really understand, appreciate and engage Caleb.  The camping trip was perfect!  I was able to see Caleb as God sees Him: unique, worthy, and designed to be in His image. In so many different ways, God showed me Caleb's value.  For example, instead of running ahead of me to be the first in line, he grabbed my hand and "chatted" (his phrase) all the way there. He found frogs in obvious peril and led them to safety.  He ate every meal with me, rather than running off like other boys his age.  He prayed for my cut knuckle and begged to read our school books first thing in the morning.  Caleb is amazing.  He knows Truth and reminds me daily to focus on God's perspective.  I am so blessed to be able to raise this boy in the nurture and admonition of Christ. 

This afternoon we all went to In-Shape for a bit of swimming.  So fun!  For some reason unknown to me, Caleb is fearful around water.  Every little accomplishment seems very important to him.  Today he yelled out several times, "Momma, look!  No fear in Christ!"  as he dunked his head under the water.  He's an interesting duck, that one.  :)

I love all these kids so much, in such different ways.  They are outside playing "pretend" together after dinner.  How unique God's love must also be for each of us, His children.  Makes me want to go and hug a toddler!  :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

God's Direction for Parents (via Larry!)

Recently, my husband wrote a brilliant response to an article posted on a popular parenting blog.  Apparently, the moderator of the conversation did not appreciate Larry's insights and refused to publish his response.  So, I decided to publish it here!  The original conversation centered around when to begin disciplining our children.  Below is Larry's response.  Enjoy!

There are so many great thoughts and ideas about parenting, and I am so appreciative to the many parents who have come before me taking the lumps, the bruises, the bumps, the agony and the tremendous time and energy to raise their children.

Like many of you, training (my alternative to discipline) I believe begins at birth.  And, in light of that one of the greatest pieces of counsel I received as a new dad was straight from the scripture: "bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).  Training and instruction, over and over and over!  Raising children is like sharpening a sword, you don’t just run the blade over the stone once, you go back and forth and back and forth until it is sharpened.  Then, at times the blade becomes dull so you repeat! 

With three children all about two years apart we have a spectrum of chances to train and instruct.  At times it goes wonderfully...give instruction once and they follow.  At other times it is like the two-year-old from the previous post, it takes multiple times to remind them of their instruction.  But, like the author stated, we as parents decide the direction the child should go and that is the way we go. 

Another verse in 2 Timothy comes in to play and that is "doctrine, reproof and instruction regarding salvation in Christ, which is training in righteousness". 
1) As parents we give the doctrine (instruction, the way we would like them to follow)
2) If necessary, if they do not follow we reprove them by giving them the doctrine again and asking for their submission
3) Ultimately, if they have been given instruction and they decide to continue going their own way we correct them. 

Training them up in regarding the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ (his work saved us, not ours), is our instruction as parents.  As parents we were never given the direction to "make our children obey".  This was given to them.  We give them the opportunity to obey, stick with our instruction and they ultimately will obey. 

I don’t believe I have everything "figured out" but I do love the blue-print our Father God has given.  There is a reason we do not see a lot of specific instruction in the new testament regarding raising children because the general idea of raising our children up in Christ was enough.  God desires to work in each and every parent to help them understand their very unique and wonderful child.  God is the ultimate parent, the most wonderful, loving, forgiving, long-suffering and faithful parent of all.  He desires that all of us raise our children in the manner that blesses him because ultimately all of our children were designed to transition from our authority to His.  As we work with him to raise our children up to submit and obey us then this will surely go well with them and their relationship with their heavenly Father. 

Praise God for his perfect plan to save us through Christ's work!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Alone to think...

Our household is finally coming up for fresh air.  We have been under the weather for the past three days.   I've never seen such a display of bodily fluids, much less been responsible for cleaning and disinfecting such smelly monstrosities.  Today we were all so blessed to be feeling better.  Larry went back to work.  The kids and I enjoyed watching "Happy Feet" with plenty of stops, starts and fast forwards. We also used our Christmas sticker books and held a "book party" in the living room.

After a grueling three days and two nights, my beautiful husband came home today with flowers and Pho soup (Vietnamese take-out) for dinner.  He also took all three kids to run errands after dinner.  So, I am sipping my favorite tea and ignoring the kitchen for now.  It feels good just to breathe clean, puke-free air.  Alone.

Thinking over the last few days, I realize how difficult it is to hold onto Truth while battling physical illness.  Although, I did find myself appreciating the Hope a bit more than usual (i.e. "Lord, come back tonight, please!).  My perspective was blurred by what was going on in my household; it was difficult to focus on spiritual things when the physical demanded so much of my time, energy and strength.  I really empathize for those who have suffered with long-term illness, like Larry's first wife, Sandra.  How hopeless life seems when we are just too tired to force our minds' to think Truth.  However, satan did not prevail in the Newman household.

As a matter of fact, although I am tired and shaky, I am more convinced than ever that God is faithful to His word.  God will not leave His children - - even if that child is holding a traumatized two-year old covered in vomit (for the third time).  God did provide our complete wholeness through Christ's sacrifice.  Our sins are forgiven; therefore, we are not subjected to sickness or disease.  Satan attempted to shift our focus away from Christ's accomplished work, and his efforts backfired.  Tonight is proof.

Less than three days after this awful stomach bug hit, our family is healthy, happy and whole.  Three days (most children enduring such a extreme flu bug suffer much longer)!  Praise God!  We all suffered with this thing except the baby.  God's grace is so big:  Sophia literally slept through almost the whole thing.  She must have been going through a God-ordained growth spurt because she slept nearly all waking hours while the toddlers and I were sick.  Larry and I did miss our scheduled anniversary date, but on the day of our anniversary he came home early and took care of the kids while I collapsed into bed. Never has a man given his wife such a perfect anniversary gift. I am excited to reschedule our date night; I cannot wait to give him his gift!  I am so blessed to have a husband who loves me which such fierce patience and compassion.

So onward we go, like strong soldiers, fighting the good fight of faith.  The kids and I are headed to a birthday party tomorrow, and Larry is happily off to work again.  I will continue to boast in the Lord's provision - even in the midst of all the pressure, vomit and sleepless nights. He is a good and faithful Father, bringing His promises to pass in our lives.  We will continue to boast in Him and the power of His might.