A Marriage After His Heart

My journey and life unscripted as I transition from the role of a single mom living for God to a newlywed trying my best at blending and expanding my family, all while pursing a marriage after God and my husband's heart. Join us on this journey!

Friday, December 12, 2008

One Sister's Reality vs Another Sister's Condemnation

It is taking me longer than I thought to get back into the groove of daily blogging but as I read so many blogs I have so many blog ideas running around in my head. Today's topic is something that I have wrestled with all year. I apologize for the length but I couldn't break this up and I just ask that you bear with me on this. I am in no way making excuses for people but we all have made bad choices and God has shown mercy and love to us.

The reality is that we are all from different walks of life, different circumstances, different scriptural interpretations, convictions, and beliefs. And while I know the topic of real life vs blogland has been beaten to death, there is one aspect that I just don't see supported or defended enough and that is the reality for most women who are like me or those who I have closely related to through my walk in this life who are intrigued by us but really have no inside clue to the lifestyle that we blog about.
  • The reality is that some women have been abandon by men, broken down, abused, and trampled on and are looking to God to heal and better their lives but in the process they still have to depend on welfare, food stamps, state sponsored health care,WIC and other subsidies and it doesn't mean they are lazy and have no desire to get off the system, it is just taking longer in their lives than WE feel it should.
  • The reality is that some women struggle with showing their kids affection because they never had it and were raised on tough love and feel so guilty about it that they can't even fathom having more kids because the enemy has lied to them and told them they are not good mothers.
  • The reality is that there are more blended families now than traditional families this being in the Christian realm, so there are some women who have to work because the reality is there is more than one household that need to be supported.
  • The reality is that some stay at home mothers do so just because they heard it's right and not because God opened doors for them to come home.
  • The reality is there are some women who just don't see the secret burden their husband carries financially and spiritually because they moved outside of God's timing into a lifestyle in which they were not prepared for.
  • The reality is there are some couples who never were taught how to be debt free and financially responsible and are now paying the price which leads to both husband and wife having to work outside the home.
  • The reality is that some people live in places where there are NO jobs and they have to drive more than an hour to work.
  • The reality is that some people actually do believe in the public school system and it would be a detriment to their kids if they pulled them out and tried to tackle homeschooling.
  • The reality is that some women and or their husbands may have committed crimes which led to a record in their sins and they are just hoping that God will open a door for them to gain employment and until God opens that door they have to depend on the government to support their family.
  • The reality is that some women and men have been fooled by false preachers and have a negative view of anything Christian and it may take some time for them to accept what we believe.
I have for many years defended single parents, women who work outside the home, and those who are bound by socioeconomic barriers I have often bet rebuffed with " they shouldn't have gotten pregnant out of wed-lock, they just aren't trying hard enough, and other comments that have almost made me cry not for myself,but for the blindness of some who have never had to walk a mile in the shoes of the people they are showing "tough love" to.
Just because one volunteers for needy families, or spends a few hours with those less fortunate doesn't mean one actually knows that person's day to day struggles. And yes there are those who just don't care or seem to want to do better but they often overshadow that population of those who want to but just don't even have a clue where to begin.

My reality is that although I was raised in a struggling middle class Christian family and made the choice to choose the hard road, I was bless to have the Godly examples to guide me back to a better road. And while I have the benefits of Salvation, I am still being buffeted about for my own faults, I have God's grace to take it patiently but what about those who don't. What about those women who are looking on the Internet trying to find some type of enlightenment from women who are spiritual and this lifestyle is very inviting but oh so new to them???

What about that women at work who longs to come home but then reads a blog who's tone says (albeit intentional or unintentional) that in so many words that she is a horrible mother, God didn't intend for her to work and leave her kids in daycare and her kids can never get the correct amount of love and support from her as long as she is selfishly working. Never mind that her working is needful and oftentimes still doesn't produce enough to meet bare essentials.

Don't get me wrong, I am not at all stressing that we shouldn't tell the truth boldly at time, because what I just stated above is exactly holds true, but there is that one thing called tone and if it were not important then Scripture would not tell us to let our words be seasoned with grace.

Seasoning our words with grace allows us to step back and look at things from a readers perspective. Not all the times, some topics call for loving reproof. I think sometimes that we as writers forget that we didn't know or have it all and we have been shed some biblical light that has worked in our favor and we decide to share it with the world but sometimes unknowingly our sharing can be a tad bit condescending. We in our own right can't see it, refuse to soften our truth for the reader because we can't " change what we say to fit every one's feelings" Yet Jesus did. There were times when he reproved and reproved hard, but there were times when he reproved and taught with so much love that it still spills from the pages of the bible.

Scripture tells us in Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. And a wise person always knows how to reach that audience of souls that he/she is trying to win. Paul did it in the passage of Scripture listed below. He knew that in order for him to win souls, he had to think like, and relate to those that he was witnessing to. Are we not to be held to the same standard??

I say all this because I feel that God is leading me to change the format and nature of my blog. My reality is that I don't know it all and I am still learning. I can relate more to those who are struggling to learn how to just cope with the day to day of being on this earth. I relate more to those women who although their kids were born in the most sinful of circumstances it doesn't take away that they love them and want the best for them just like those who were blessed not to have to travel that road. At the end of the day we are still mostly wives and mothers searching for God given direction on how to change our lives for the better.

I write this in now way judging or accusing any of the blogs I read, because I learn so much from them. I just know how tough it was for me in the beginning to just go through the day clinging to God's hope and joy. Trust me homeschooling, birth control, qiver-full, menu planning, coupon clipping, wifely submission, Titus 2 learning, first time obedience child rearing, bread baking, bible courtships, politics, and other biblical womanhood topics seemed like an un-learnable foreign language and an unreachable lifestyle for me.

My desire is to help that demographic of sisters who have been told that they will never be anything, who have been abused, who feel hope is lost because they are trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents. Those who are out near the highways and the byways who would love to come into the marriage celebration but don't really get invited. I believe that if we honestly search our hearts and reflect back we will see that there is truly a group of women who feel left out.

1 Corinthians 9:18-23
18What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
19For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law
to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without
22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am
made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
23And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
At the end of the day after all the hot blogging topics and fiery comments our blog ministry mission should be to win someone over or closer to Christ. If you don't feel your blog is a ministry to others then maybe you shouldn't blog about anything Christ related because on that faithful day we will all be judged for every idle word that we speak whether it be spoken or written we are accountable for the soul that reads our representation of salvation.
Have a wonderful weekend. Stay blessed and encouraged!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Bondage of Materialism During This Economic Famine

Last year I wrote this post during this season due to all the massive toy recalls and child related deaths. This year things are different. Child mortality related to toy recalls are not taking over news headlines, but the recent death of a Wal-Mart employee, the shooting at Toys-R-Us and this economic famine that we are facing prompted me to re-post with a little tweaking. Although there may be situational differences, the premise of seasonal greed and guilt is still the same base. Parents who are struggling overwhelmingly just to provide the bare necessities are still finding it difficult to accept that Christmas present may have to be very different from Christmas past. One thing does remain the same, even though we are in a great recession, materialism still has many in bondage.

As I sit and shudder of the thought of what type of bondage this time of year brings upon parents, and any other adult seeking to soothe the materialistic desire of a child by going into debt, not showing Christian stewardship to the less fortunate, greed, envy, covetousness and many other ungodly abominations, I wonder if God allows things like this to happen to shake our attention back to the reason for this season? Is he trying to let this country, (which was founded on spiritual principals and a need to worship God without reproof) know that he is not at all pleased with how we are creating generation after generation of materialistic children who covet everything they see?

Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying that we should not buy our children toys and presents and shower them with love, I am simply saying that everything that we do for our children should empower them spiritually, educationally and naturally and not the instant gratification of playing with the next hot thing or to be bound by what I call the "Gotta Have, or Must Have spirit. "

We have a God given responsibility to evoke and teach our children a sense of appreciation for gifts, a gratefulness of receiving something new, we should teach them to be good stewards of the blessings they receive and most importantly that any gift they receive is a blessing from God not an expectation!I think it is so sad when I see children put a guilt trip on their parents for not having the newest toy. It hurts me to see the young and innocent equate love with gifts before they are even old enough to hold a conversation. It saddens me even more when parents are bound by their children's covetousness , greed and desire for materialism... If I am burdened about it, how is God feeling about it?? He must be so sad, so frustrated, so furious.....

I had to cry out to God in this area too.... Last year I had to sit down and accept the brutally honest truth that I have allowed my children to become entangled in the expectation of materialism, and I have allowed a seed of ungratefulness and greed to be planted in their hearts because they covet every new toy that is introduced. At one while every conversation would include "Mommy I want, or Mommy can you buy me?" One of my children even knew my paydays and would say when you get paid on this day can we go to the store? I knew then that my weakness as a single mother was trying to make up for the absence of the father figure by buying gifts and always buying things they wanted.

I had to ask God and my children for forgiveness because this is not what mothering is all about, and was very unpleasing to God.I (we) have a responsibility to dig out this seed before its roots anchor and plant seeds of gratefulness, and appreciation, and self worth even when you don't have what everyone else has. I

If you are guilty of this, don't let the devil beat you over the head with condemnation, simply ask God to forgive you for this, and to give you wisdom on how to buy those things that are desired by your children. Make sure that every toy or game you buy can be nurturing, and serve as practical applications and learning.

With God's help, we can do this. We don't have to raise a generation of children who's favorite words are I want or can I have? We can raise children who are selfless, who want to be good stewards and who realizes that every thing given to us above that which we need is an extra blessing from God. We can watch the news about dangerous toys and feel good in our soul that we don't have to fear for our children in this area. I encourage you to sit down with your children and inform them of what is going on around during these economic slow downs. Show them the signs of "men pleasers", and of men being lovers of themselves and how this is not pleasing to God.
I am hoping to finish a Part 2 tomorrow on how we can get our children involved in learning how to recognize materialism and how they can overcome it with our help.