Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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So Your Life Didn’t Turn Out The Way You’d Hoped: Yup this is true. We expect people to not only like us, but sing our praises and expect to be sought out. Significance always feels just out of our reach. Or am I the only one?

Choose Hospitality Over Entertaining: There is a difference! And I am a slow learner at this one, so it was a needed read and reminder.

Christian Girl Instagram: This is so sad but so good.

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The Joy Of Not Being So Intentional…

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This past week I mourned the loss of my 96-year-old grandpa. I also praised God for what a great man he was. And I rejoiced in the reality that he is home with Jesus.

I asked my mom what her growing up, home-life experience was like. And her answer was mostly ordinary. Her mom worked and so did her dad. They had boarders staying at their house all the time so she was in charge of all the cooking. Her parents were frugal, hard-working people.

They made spur-of-the-moment discipline choices without fear of consistency. They spent time with each other when time allowed for it. Special moments were not planned or contrived, they just happened. Mothers didn’t get together and one-up-each other, I mean talk about subjects like philosophy of parenting, bottle vs boob, immunizations, juice or no-juice and anything else currently hot-button you can think of.

There was no money for, or need, to get professionally stylized photo’s of the family every six months (but that might just be because there was no Facebook to upload them to).  And they just did life; not really caring what their neighbor down the street thought about it. They were making ends meet and getting things done and just living.

And there was absolutely nothing intentional about their parenting.

My mom told me the whole intentional parenting movement didn’t come till later with Dobson and FamilyLife. Books upon books upon books were written and opinions became “christian” laws. Before then, parents just applied Biblical principles to there lives and the family without wondering how the Jones’s were doing it too.

Something about that seems awfully nice. Doesn’t it?

They were by the very definition, extremely average people. Nothing about the way they lived was extraordinary.

Our generation isn’t like that, are we? We kinda want to be special because we like to be praised. I like to be praised. Whether it be our perfectly kept home or our genius and well-behaved kids. Our picture-worthy meals or our selfless volunteer work. Birthday parties for our kids must garner amazement and everyone must know how dedicated to our kids we are all the time. All of which needs to be uploaded to instagram for the world to see.

We want to be the best at this parenting thing, or heck, at life. Even though we all feel like we’re failing at it. But we only feel like we’re failing because someone just uploaded an adorable family portrait taken on a gorgeous mountain top during a family hike, and now we feel inferior.

Geesh.

We fight with each other and exhaust ourselves with the secondary issues of parenting, instead of focusing on the stuff the Bible does talk about.

I know my grandparents generation was by no means perfect and they could probably have used a little more intentionality in there parenting. And I don’t doubt there was still gossip, slander and judgement between friends and neighbors as sin has no generational bounds. But I imagine the scale was not nearly as far-reaching as our current on-line culture. And somehow without all that calculated parenting, all four of my grandparents kids became Christians and went on to be fairly normal people.

I’m not here to romanticize the past or suggest that we can fully go back, because we can’t.

I’m also not anti-parenting books, or Dobson or FamilyLife or even intentional-parenting. But let me tell you what I am absolutely anti, with a capital A. I am anti-having an aggressive opinion on what everyone else is doing!

I genuinely don’t have an opinion about how many kids you have. You could aspire to be just like the Duggar’s and I would say, bless you on your quest. In fact that family doesn’t shock me at all. At the same time, if you end your child-rearing with one, I will not belittle your motherhood as though you are less-of-a-mama as Mrs. Duggar.

Do whatever you want! Believe it or not, there is no magical number on how many kids is the right amount.

Here’s another thing I have no opinion on…what food you feed your kids. Formula or breast? Don’t care. Gold fish or gluten-free snacks from Trader Joes? Still, don’t care.

Another thing? I don’t care if you put your kid in a public or private school or you homeschool your kid. I also have no opinion on whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom.

Also? I don’t care if your dinners involve a lot of food that live in the freezer or you hand make all your butter, bread, sauces and such. Because it really is none of my bee’s wax.

And I invite you to not care about those completely mundane decisions my husband and I must make also.

As you might be able to tell…….I’m out.

If being intentional means over-thinking, second guessing, guilt-baring, people pleasing parenting and all-around doing life, then this lady has left the room. Because I’ve just seen there is a man behind the curtain!

So, why don’t you grab my hand and leave with me. And let’s go get our joy back.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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Parenting With Sanctification, Not Reputation, In mind: Whether we’d like to admit it or not, reputation parenting is our default mode of parenting. Sadly I know he’s right. We all need to read this.

She Is A Public Nuisance: I enjoyed reading this short post. It is a needed reminder on how we treat our neighbors,  paticularily the difficult ones.

Dear Parent - About THAT Kid: Well this hit just a little too close to home. I can’t tell you that she receives speech-language services, that an assessment showed a severe language delay, and that the therapist feels the aggression is linked to frustration about being unable to communicate. If you change the she to a he, that is my son. And I can relate to the parent/teacher meetings that need tissue. Please read this!

Matt Maher – Lord, I Need You: This song has been played a lot in the house these days.

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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Are You A Celebrity Pastor Wannabe?: This! This! This! 10 ways to check yourself and see if this applies to you!

The Most Overlooked Characteristic Of Who You Want To Marry: After 10 years of marriage I feel like we have barely scratched the surface of life suffering we will endure together. Yet I already know what this article says is important.

It’s Not About Adoption; It’s About The Gospel: This is a great article about the real truth of adoption with all its challenges. And somehow its still encouraging!

To End All Wars: Although kind of dramatic, this is a great little video, especially as we Canadians anticipate Remembrance Day. Where does true peace come from?

Posted in Adoption, Christian Living, Culture, Let Me Direct You Elsewhere, Marriage, Ministry, Theology, Video's | Leave a comment

Walter…

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A quiet strength. That’s what he had. My grandpa; who passed away today.

The Lord blessed him with a long life, although most of us thought he would live forever. Even in his late years he was still strong as an ox. He had an appetite of a 16-year-old boy. Eating spoon full’s of gravy and putting butter in his coffee. He taught me to sprinkle salt on each bite of a full cucumber when I was a child.

He had a strong back and long arms. Like God sculpted him specifically for gardening.

I remember he would come over to our house growing up to work in the dirt. He would spend the whole day laboring in the hot sun, hardly ever breaking for a glass of water or snack. He had the work-ethic of not just a man from the ol’ days but of a Mennonite. True to his denominational convictions he lived a life-style of service and frugality.

Not only did he volunteer his time at the gleaners, preparing rejected but still-good vegetables into soup for those in need, he also was an avid dumpster-diver. I remember him bringing us a toaster-oven he found at the dump that he had cleaned up. He was right; it was still good and we used it for many years.

But grandpa wasn’t just a worker, he was a thinker. He was well read and a thoughtful theologian. He knew what he believed and why he believed it. And it bothered him when others didn’t stand by their convictions. I appreciate him for that.

His office desk was strewn with books and there was usually an open Bible prominently placed in the center. I remember him reading from the Daily Bread during every breakfast when I spent the night at grandma and grandpa’s growing up.

More than anything I loved the way he prayed. Dinner time wasn’t just a ritualistic prayer. It was when my grandpa got to pick up where he left off with God. Like he had been talking to his heavenly Father all day. He had a relationship with Jesus, that was clear. And infectious. At a young age I knew there was something different about my grandpa. Even though I didn’t understand what wisdom was, I was still able to notice that grandpa had it.

And because of his example I prayed that God would make me wise, just like him.

Unbeknownst to my grandfather he showed me a kind of manhood I’d never seen before. Some might say it was just because he was from a different generation, but that would be false. It came from his desire to serve the Lord. It was a self-sacrificing kind of leadership. A lot like Jesus.

And when it was time for me to marry, I believe my choice was rooted in the example of my grandfather. Which made it all the more meaningful when my grandpa filled the shoes of my recently passed father and walked me down the aisle on my wedding day ten years ago.

Grandpa’s heritage lives on now through us, his family. And I pray we do him justice.

I pray his roots of deep love for Jesus go on and on through the lives of my children and beyond. And I am so grateful that he loved the Lord and was faithful to pass it on. I’m thankful that he is with his Saviour now and is rejoicing in that place. And I’m thankful he is being reunited with his wife, my grandma, and all those who have gone before him.

I am so relieved that because of the Good News of the gospel none of this is goodbye, but just, see you soon.

This is our great hope. And it is why I can smile.

Walter is with Jesus.

He is home.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

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Let Me Direct You Elsewhere…

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Beautiful Beyond Our Control: Please read this one!! I have to repent for judging the size of my thighs and nose and lips and the unruly hair. Because the truth is this body is the gift of God to me but for him. My body is not a tool to sharpen and shape, it is a tool for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. 

The Aquila Report: My latest post called Evil, Evangelism And Halloween was published on the Aquila Report, which is always a joy. Make sure to check this site out!

Are You A Good Parent?: As a mom, I always need to read articles like this one! The salvation of your children does not hang in the balance with your family routine or your Instagram-worthy-moments. If they see some shortcomings in you, they are not thereby damned to unbelief.

Cell Phone Crashing: This is pretty funny!

Sade – By Your Side: It’s random, I know, but oh well. I came across this old song a week ago and something about it makes me happy and nostalgic. I love that her voice isn’t typical.

Posted in Christian Living, Culture, Let Me Direct You Elsewhere, Ministry, Motherhood, Music, Parenting, Video's, Womanhood | Leave a comment

Evil, Evangelism And Halloween…

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I wrote about this topic a few years ago, but I figured I would repost it with some changes.

It’s that time of year again and for that reason, we must talk about it.

Lets face it, evil is celebrated at Halloween. How do we know this for sure? Just walk into your local department store and stroll through the seasonal aisle.

Recently my son and daughter were traumatized by the decapitated hand springing from a witch’s cauldron at our local Wal-Mart. They also cowered in fear at the gigantic blow up evil cat and moving witch’s legs prominently placed on display at Home Depot. Last year our neighbor flung bloodied limbs all over his lawn. How welcoming.

Get as gruesome, creepy and foul in your decoration and you’ve won at Halloween.

Our culture is fascinated with this stuff. With death. Like a moth to a flame we gravitate to wicked things. Our sinful heart’s desire it. And once October rolls around our filthy and evil thoughts are allowed and encouraged to come out and play. It’s a celebration, no matter how you slice it.

As Christians it is important to thoughtfully think through this tradition. And even more so when we have kids who will probably participate in the festivities of Halloween in some way. There is much positive and negative history involved, so we have to dig and ask ourselves most importantly what does the Word say on these matters? What does our conscience say? And what does the culture say?

Both Chris and I participated in Halloween trick-or-treating growing up. My mom created one boundary for my sisters and I, which was we weren’t allowed to dress as anything evil. So, I was a hobo for a couple of years and then a cat for about 5 in a row.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~ Romans 12:2

What does this mean for us on Halloween?

The easiest way to be conformed to the world is by letting everything it whispers wash over us without any thought or care. If we never think about the importance of having a biblical worldview, we will inevitably begin to reflect the world and culture around us. If we want to live unthoughtfully, we will live unbiblically.

Stop. Think. Look at it all objectively.

Many Christians get frustrated with this conversation in the name of evangelism. They say oh why are we making a big deal of it? We can meet and evangelise our neighbors. Stop worrying about. Most of this thinking I agree with, until the part about evangelizing never actually happens. At the end of the day many of these people never have any intention of talking to their neighbors about Jesus.

And I’m not saying we all have to. Unless of course you say your going to.

But there is evangelism (sharing the good news about Christ’s death and resurrection) and there is simply engaging your neighbors lovingly in the hopes that conversation happens in due time. Both good things, but different things.

I agree that participating in Halloween is a fantastic way to engage neighbors. It is a great way to open your door to family after family after family and show them that you are a safe place. That your home will not give children nightmares. You can meet and chat and learn names and shake hands. It is always our hope to start conversations and bring peace with us as we do it.

My family will be participating in Halloween, without celebrating evil or ignoring that it exists. My kids will dress up (in non-evil costumes) and go door to door collecting free candy. We will also give out free candy to anyone who knocks. And we hope that there will be people met and relationships built.

And our desire is to try to redeem a broken culture. Which means we have to start thinking deeply about it and then respond intentionally.

However while Chris and I have thought through our decision to play a part in the Halloween tradition and have come to a specific conclusion on how to manage that. I do not want to minimize other Christians who may have decided they will not be part of it. There concerns are legitimate. And if their conscience will not allow them to participate, I would never want to mock them, get frustrated or persuade them otherwise. Scripture is clear on this.

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. ~ Romans 14:13-14

In this way I want to be sensitive to my Christian brothers and sisters who in thinking over this issue have come up with a different understanding then us. And they are perfectly entitled to do what they feel is right.

So…don’t have an opinion about Halloween? Learn and think about it. And then get one. It does matter. And regardless of your opinions,  it certainly is a hefty reminder for all of us to pray for our neighborhoods.

God, make your glory be known this Halloween!

Posted in Christian Living, Culture | 4 Comments