Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I normally don't post pictures like this to social media or the blog because...well, it's my boys in the tub. They will be so embarrassed in several years but I LOVE this picture and had to share.
What you can't see in this picture are the toothbrushes in their hands as they play the "drums" (side of the tub) while singing "God of Angel Armies." They were playing and singing at the top of their lungs! Such a sweet sound to this Mama's ears!
I have thought about this picture several times since taking it...
My boys' minds are so moldable and I am making every effort to take advantage of their innocence. I desire to lay a foundation that points them to God. We don't have cable. We listen to only Christian music in the car. I don't tolerate speech that puts another down like "stupid." (That's the big one right now and one of our children has learned that soap doesn't taste very good.) We have a weekly verse that we memorize and talk about throughout the week. I am trying. But I am not naive.
Brandon starts kindergarten in the fall. WHAT?! Yes. Brandon starts kindergarten in the fall. I know that he will hear things that will cause his heart to sing things other than, "Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other!" He will make friends with unbelievers and those of different religions. He will experience things that make him wonder if God really is the one true God. I hope and pray for all our boys that the foundation that is being laid will keep their hearts tender to the things of Jesus.
Deuteronomy 11:9, "Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
One of their favorite stories is Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego (Daniel 3). When they retell it (especially Brandon) they always over emphasize the part about them not bowing down to the king which caused them to end up in the fiery furnace. We were listening to a kids praise CD in the car the other day and one of the songs mentioned singing to the King of Kings. Brandon questioned why we sing to the King if we aren't supposed to bow down to other kings other than God. What a teaching moment!
The flip side:
I work part time at the YMCA and some of my hours come from working in childcare which means the boys go with me. Since I stay home with them full time, the Y and church are their social outlets. They are very social and I am thankful for that. However, like I mentioned earlier, they are moldable. Just as I can teach that God is the King of Kings and Jesus is God's Son, others can teach them foul language and inappropriate finger gestures...
Just one example...The boys like to shower instead of take baths. So, one night I was giving them a shower and as one of our boys was getting in the shower he said, "Da@@ this water is hot!" No, that was not "darn." My jaw dropped. I couldn't overreact and I didn't. We talked about "not nice" words and luckily I haven't heard it since.
So, I am not naive to think our boys won't be influenced by culture, friends, or their own sinful hearts but I can be proactive in leading them closer to Jesus. I love to hear them sing about Jesus and pray for the day that they will sing to Jesus and acknowledge Him as Lord.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
"And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." 1 Peter 5:10
I have delayed writing this post for a few weeks because I wanted to make sure that my thoughts were put into words that are edifying and encouraging rather than destructive. So...
2013 was very difficult. I would love to change the word "suffering" in the verse to "endured hardships" because I know that my suffering is nothing compared to what Peter was addressing in 1 Peter. I was faced with situations that caused me to question my gifts and calling within the church and even my standing before God. I was put in a place I have never been before and I hope to never be again. However, all these things have brought me where I am today. As a lady stated in a Bible study group I am in, "I don't like my problems but they keep me close to Him."
Job 42:5-6, "I had heard of you but the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you." I have experienced God is various settings and through many circumstances in my life but the last few months have brought me to a place of really seeing him as I haven't experienced before.
Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose." ALL THINGS work together for good...yes, all things. Even bad. I met Ms. Nancy at church a few months ago and she stated it best, "We must conclude that if he allows it, that it must be the instrument by which he will make us holy."
2013 was very difficult. Did I already mention that? =) I am so thankful for the past few weeks as I have been encouraged. I have been encouraged with new relationships but I have been most encouraged by the Holy Spirit and the Word. I am so thankful for a faithful God who stays true to who he is despite my lack of faith. Circumstances and heartbreak led me down a path of doubting him and I have asked forgiveness. I know that ALL THINGS work together for good and his ultimate desire is that I be conformed to the image of Christ and be made holy. The path to get me to this place wasn't fun AT ALL but the end result is a closer walk with him...and trusting.
This is my favorite version of this song and it has been on repeat this week...