Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Surrounding Me

My head is aching, I'm exhausted and really just want to crawl into bed - no bedtime knitting, no last minute channel surfing, I just want to crawl into bed and drift off to sleep. Yet, I feel so moved to type up this blog before the hussle and bussle of tomorrow and the waning desire to actually write this up.

In my very first Beth Moore book I read (paraphrasing here) that when God gives her a message, He surrounds her with it. I believe God is radically speaking into my life something uncomfortable yet again. I sometimes wonder if there will ever be a break between calls to obediance and change in my life.

God is returning my heart towards home. Wait - aren't I an ex-Mormon? LDS for years? Hello, isn't the whole religion turned towards home? Eternal families? Temple ceremonies? Why yes, it is. And yes, my heart has on the surface and in very real legalistic ways been turned towards home since my son was born but like most parents I've always looked forward to the next stage. If Paul was holding up his head, I couldn't wait for him to sit up, if he was sitting up I couldn't wait for him to scoot or crawl, and then I couldn't wait for him to toddle and walk and so on and so forth. And now, I just can't wait for kindergarten so I can finally have a clean home during at the very least, school hours. I'm a help meet and a keeper of my home but if my name and the words, "house" "clean" or "keeper" are used - Steve certainly has a good laugh. During both pregnancies and throughout the past years, I go through clean stages where everything MUST be tidy - but overall I become overwhelmed with vacuuming a floor only to have it remain clean overnight while the kids are sleeping but by 8 am is a total wreck again. Breaking my back to mop my tile floor just to have the kids spill juice by the end of the day and then run through it all over the first floor. I become sick of working so hard and then it getting messed up not a day later, not a week later, but sometimes just minutes later. And so, I daydream about the future.

But God has been calling for repentance in my life and radical obediance on the way I see motherhood, being a help meet and wife to my husband, and being a godly woman in general. He is calling for more than just head knowledge, but obediance and a change of heart - otherwise the obediance is only short lived.

Tonight, Focus on the Family had an amazing program about SAHM (Stay at Home Moms). It was so refreshing - I had to listen to it "live" on the radio so I had to refrain from "sushing" people in the store. Here is a link to part 1 (I haven't heard it yet) and here is a link to what I listened to tonight - part 2. It was about the very real importance of choosing motherhood as our profession. I have also been listening to Voddie Baucham's podcasts from his, Truth in Grace podcast - I have to say that I've finished both podcasts and am hungry for more. It's great stuff! I almost want to go out and find a Southern Baptist church now. The very real passion that is demonstrated by this man is amazing - his message is not by any means comfortable, in fact it had my quite uncomfortable since a lot of what he condemned as un-biblical are things Steve and I are doing right now and plan to do in the future.

As Baucham rattled off various statistics it really worried me about how we as Christians and we - Steve and I are doing as parents to younger generations. Don't get me wrong - I love how emerging churches like GP for example, are trying to connect with people to share the gospel with them, but I cannot help but return to my original line of thinking almost a year ago - if Christians come to be entertained on Sundays how real is their relationship? Will they be able to endure? I think connecting to people where they are and sharing the gospel with them is so extremly Biblical and incredibly needed however I also wonder how many people that are coming to these very modern and engaging churches are simply people who grew up in a Christian church and then fell away from church? How many Christians are returning to modern churches because they were never properly discipled by their parents? As parents, are we stepping up and engaging OUR children, OUR youth and discpling them? As mothers are we preparing (not just teaching) our daughters to become mothers and keepers of their homes? I love how Baucham phrased this, OR are we merely teaching our daughters to be men who also happen to be able to have babies? Are we bending to a worldview or are we standing firm in a Biblical worldview?

Steve and I recently listened to a piece NPR (This American Life) did about LDS missionaries - the piece followed two Elders in NYC. Towards the end of the piece the Elders were discussing who they loved engaging in conversations the most - Jews and Muslims because (and I'll quote them here), "they understand what covenants mean" - WOW! What a remark about Christians! That we do not know or understand convenants. Al Mohler did a piece last week about Christians and divorce and he made a very good point that since we don't publicly honor marriage because of the divorce rate AND because our pastors and leaders can get divorced with little to no fuss, we (Christians) have made a statement that marriage isn't really a covenant we stick with. Really, can you think of one way that Christians are known for ANY type of covenant? Yet the Bible itself consists of covenants - the Old Covenant and the NEW Covenant (Old Testament and New Testament). In fact, the cross is all about a covenant.

I hope my thoughts are not reading as scattered as I feel right now - but I hope that you can all see the very importance of taking the time in each season and being obedient to God's call in our lives. My call is motherhood right now - so I must allow God to change my heart and shape me into the mother HE envisions me to be. It's not easy - every time I see the childless volunteers at GP I feel jealous because I wish I could devote more time to volunteer work both inside GP and outside of it - but as a mother I really just don't have the time. Every time I read about some great work a Christian is doing, I wish I could be doing that work and yet, I don't even acknowledge how great the work of a mother really is.

I love the multi-generational promise that Baucham talks about and right now it's the call on my heart - to raise a godly generation to the Lord. After listening to stats from both Baucham and Dr. Mohler - I am even more convinced of how important it is for me to raise my children starting right now in the Word. With youth leaving Christian churches once they hit college, not being spiritually or theologically re-born, changing religions, and eventually having to go out into the world that is intolerant of Christian world views - as a mother I've got to do everything possible to ground them now. Again, I love the emerging church movement (possibly not the theology but I'll get back to you on that one) however I do not want my children to need to be entertained in order to come to Jesus.

Lastly, as I drove home I listened to Manna's updated podcast, particularly a sermon about rewards following sacrifice. It seemed to really drive home the point and message God has been really convicting me of - there is sacrifice in being a godly mother and raising my children in the gospel and in grace - it means my home will always be dirty five minutes after I clean it - but I clean it again and I accept that I will not have a model for Better Homes and Garden, it means that yes I'd like to volunteer more but I really just cannot, it means that I want to knit all day but I cannot - I need to disciple my children through play time, snack time, when they rise, while they play, when they lay down at night. I must accept that what God teaches me is not always going to be politically correct, and that I need to accept that now instead of always trying to smooth and gloss things over. It means that I am to lay myself down, even when I don't feel like it, even when I don't want to, even when I have other plans - I need to lay myself down. It means my actions alone should be able to teach my children about grace, mercy, God's love, and the gospel. It means training my children to worship together as a family, it means putting in time and energy I'd probably love to use to knit, blog, soak in a tub, or just hang out with my husband. It means God comes first, Steve comes second, and children come third - it means having and knowing my priorities. It means being very uncomfortable.

This really sticks out to me - God doesn't fluff us up in pillows, comforters, and scented spa candles to refine us - He makes us uncomfortable. How scary. But if we shrink away from the hardships, then we also shrink away from the blessings.

It means discipline. Spending time with God when I'd rather do something else, when I'd rather nap, when I'd rather blog, when I'd rather even do laundry (which I hate). It means painfully working on my prayer life.

Being a Christian isn't about the culture, the political soap boxes, or the cool t-shirts - it's about endurance, santification, and as we become refined, becoming more and more like Jesus. We aren't talking about cheap grace here - we're talking about the real deal, bought with Christ's blood - the work of the cross.


Paula Runyan said...

I was so touched by your comments.
I do understand what you are saying.
we attend a church that is "big, busy and just requires so much", that there is no longer an intimacy that I believe Christians should have. There are groups to help all the "working mothers" cope with there extra busy lives, instead of teaching them that God would have them in the home, raising Godly seed.
There is a set of tapes from Charity Ministries that does a more than excellent job at teaching family order and the contentment that will arise because of it.
I do not recommend everything this church teaches. They have started to slide away from the truth when it comes to doctrine, but as for the Godly Home series, everyone who listens to it, including myself, has had their lives transformed.
The set is free, with a small love donation to them if one is able to. Its not required.
Here is the addy.
The set is the first one to pop up when you click in the tape ministry section.

Right now, I am desiring to attend a smaller home church in the valley, but God has not led us to do that quite yet.
All in His time :o)
A sister in Alaska,

Tuppence said...

I remember feeling much as you describe in this post when I was a young mother. A wise woman pointed out to me that in caring for our children, we are feeding the hungry, giving a cup of cold water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, and He says that when we are doing these thing "unto the least of these" (and what could more accurately fit that description than dependent children), we are doing it unto Him. Focusing on that helped me to see that I was doing His work after all.