Tag Archives: faith

The Beast We Feed

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There’s a horrible multi-headed beast living in a particular region. People all around it are terrorized by it, bemoan its aggressive ways, but continue feeding it over and over again. Sometimes people at the back feed it more and it vomits on their loved ones at the front, who in turn scream at those in the back. Sometimes the people in the front feed it more and it poops on their friends and neighbors at the back, who scream at those in the front. Sometimes it’s weight becomes uneven and crushes people on the sides, who scream at those in the front and back overfeeding the beast.

When someone steps back from the crowd and says, “what the crap? I’m feeding a beast that threatens my family, friends and neighbors every day! If we all stopped feeding it, it would die!” They are ridiculed, hated, and spit at. They are told they do not care enough about each person feeding the beast and they are letting the beast have victory by not feeding it.

It’s not only okay, but good, to refuse to take part in feeding the beast that crushes all of us. Tell me (and all that refuse to vote) to F’off. Tell me I’m not a good citizen of this place or of heaven. Tell me while your face turns red, you spout hatred for your neighbors, and bemoan that others fed the beast with you. That hateful defense of feeding a beast that enslaves you in your every day marrying, eating, procreating, building, playing, working… It only shows me more and more how my not feeding a beast, even if a measly handful, is good.

I love you, even if you take my life yourself because I stopped feeding the beast.

 

“Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.””
~ ‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭8:9‬ ‭NIV (italics my own)

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When The Heart Isn’t In It

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Many times I have heard people justify not following one of His commands because if they did, they would not have the “heart” in it, they wouldn’t be joyful about it, etcetera. Most of the time, it’s even talked about as God’s will for their life simply because He allowed them the free will to choose it, despite His Word speaking plainly against it.

I’ve even said I didn’t have the heart, myself, at one very specific point. I remember saying it about forgiving the lawyers and jury when the criminal trial came back not guilty for a man very much guilty and needing to be kept away from children – that my heart just wasn’t in it, and so I couldn’t forgive them then.

Obedience to God is not just doing the actions He commands, but following His commands with the heart He has called us to cultivate.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

~Psalm 84:5

So many times, so many reasons:

  • If mom/wife stayed home without a paying career, they would be bitter and feel unsatisfied.
  • If they taught their child(ren) at home, they would feel stressed out, so it would just be “best” to send their kiddos off (and not have to deal with any sin issue in their own heart or their children’s).
  • If they were to witness to others, they would feel nervous and “do a terrible job.”
  • If they trusted God with their fertility, they would “go crazy” (His children are supposed to have the *mind of Christ,* so it seems difficult to me that a genuine Follower of Christ can “lose their mind,” when they have so strong a foundation)… if God wants to work through all their methods of birth control, sure they’ll “accept it,” but until then, they’re going to work really hard to prevent the children He designed to be the biological norm for marriage and that He calls wealth and blessings, while they work hard to accumulate financial “wealth,” which God calls a curse.
  • If they stayed single and celibate, they would lose it and do something terrible in another area.
  • It’s just too difficult to forgive… we wouldn’t really mean it (let’s forget we’ve been forgiven for far more by a gracious God).

“If I did X, Y, Z that God calls all Followers of Christ to, I would not be able to _______ or I would not have ______ in my heart that He tells me to have. I can’t obey Him AND have a content heart in this!”

O LORD, teach me how you want me to live! Then I will obey your commands. Make me wholeheartedly committed to you!
~Psalm 86:11

But… we’re called to do both… to both obey Him and do it with a joyful heart… and relying in His strength, we can.

Why do we so often justify inaction and outright disobedience to His commands for blessed living, based on our emotions? Thinking lately of the many times I have done this, heard this from others, and the countless times in human history it has been done… it makes my heart sad that we are such hypocrites. We say we are Followers of Christ, but when He calls us to live certain ways that we don’t really want to follow, we justify ourselves instead of admitting we are in rebellion against His commands. We are merely Believers in His sacrifice, but refuse to be true Followers of Christ (“You believe that there is one God. That’s fine! The demons also believe that, and they tremble with fear.” ~ James 2:19)

What we fail to realize is that God’s commands are NOT to burden us. They are to help us live beautifully. His plans are best, yet we act as though we know better. Constantly.

I am so encouraged by Followers who live out God’s call. My friend, Marie, said something awhile ago that encouraged me that there are beautiful, willing hearts for the Lord:

I’m learning how important it is to read the bible, not to be a ‘good Christian’ (not a good enough reason), but because it is filled with the important stuff God wants us to know in order to live fully in this depraved world, not trusting in the way the world thinks, but trusting in His ways.

I pray I allow God to cultivate this in my heart, that I choose to cultivate it in my own heart – that God’s Word can be trusted to guide us to full living and He can grant us joy in the midst of obeying Him.

Energy Matters – The Science of Relations

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In Dressing Your Truth, I’m a “Type 4.” I look at the world in black and white terms, am closed to who I trust (especially since having back-to-back happenings of severe betrayal from three sets of people I trusted or wanted to trust, compounded by my nature), I think about everything a lot, twisting it over and over in my mind to understand it as fully as I can.
Many times in my life I’ve had these “aha!” moments, where several things I’ve been thinking about collide and I see it’s inter-connectedness. This is something DYT system says is the most common for Type 4’s, as it is a part of “deep, still waters.”

It wasn’t until the last few years that I read Charlotte Mason’s writing about the “science of relations,” which is what I’ve been doing (and everyone does to varying degrees) my whole life, thriving on it, without having a term for it.

When Stryder was a newborn, he had a tongue and lip tie that made nursing painful, just as his sisters did. We decided to have them revised with laser, as we could see the choices we made without enough information, prevented nursing to biological normal ages. In my researching, I found that cranial-sacral therapy (CST) was strongly recommended by many parents who had their children’s ties revised, prior to and after the revision. I didn’t fully understand the explanation of CST, despite reading about it multiple times from multiple sources (this is my secondary Type 2 showing!).
I was able to get Stryder into a laser specialist 5 hours away, when he was about 1 1/2 week old – there wasn’t much time to get in for CST beforehand.
After his revisions, I was able to get him to a CST specialist. I prayed before each appointment that God would heal him of anything causing tension or pain, and make nursing a blessing for both of us. I saw wonderful improvements with his sleep (he’d actually nap each day he had a CST appointment – he was not a napper and still is not), crying, and how he moved his little body.
I was astounded at what I saw at our first appointment. Maybe most would not be astounded, but I know I have several friends and family that will think it’s not possible… or even that it’s “evil.”

(Background: When I was in my early 20’s, my ex-husband – who I was then married to – taught me a very little about pressure points. I had no problem accepting its reality and did not think it was evil.)

In our first CST appointment, the Dr used a pressure point between my eyes to show me I wouldn’t be able to hold my arm up when he applied mild pressure to my arm with one of his hands and light pressure between my eyes. I could not.
Then he told me that pressure and energy can tell us what is going on inside our bodies. But, that it is harder to gauge young children or the physically disabled in the same way, so he often uses someone else to tell him what is going on with the client’s body.
I held Stryder while he used my arm – touching Stryder’s pressure point between the eyes. I could not hold up my arm.
I went home, a sleeping Stryder in his car seat, freaking out. I kept telling Daryl how crazy it was, that I just saw Stryder’s energy flow through me… and that sounded like New Age garbage… but I saw it, it had no sense of evil, and it *worked.* Daryl was excited because I finally was seeing what he’d been saying – that God works through energy all around us, it’s in every living thing on earth…. things before, I dismissed as “off.”

Almost a year later, I was telling a friend that I was ready to, but struggling with moving forward in trauma-healing, recovering from severe PTSD, and forgiving people who had wronged me, Melody, and Daryl at various points from the criminal trail and forward.
She sent me the books Feelings: Buried Alive, Never Die and Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils.

Feelings, I expected, could help me process through some difficult issues, but I didn’t expect what else happened.

Join me tomorrow for the continuation of this journey of mine, in Faith As Small As a Mustard Seed.

Released

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A few weeks ago, I began reading Protecting the Gift by Gavin de Becker, with a small group of moms on Ambleside Online’s forums.

After reading the first chapter, I instinctively went to the department of corrections website for the state Dr Horrible last lived in, as he had been on parole, and I wanted to see if he had moved near us again. I was astonished to find that after over a decade of violating his parole at various times and in various ways, his new parole officer had *finally* been someone who did their job of “protecting the public,” and had put a warrant out for Dr Horrible’s arrest, for a violation. I didn’t know what it was for, only that he evaded it for about 4 months, then was caught.

Melody didn’t know what I was looking at on my tablet when she saw my jaw dropped, but she asked, “what is it, is it ‘Dr Horrible?'” My sweet girl is so intuitive. I shared with her what I’d found out and we wept together. She said, “I feel safe for the first time in my life.”

That day, I could not get the image of his mother holding him as a newborn. I’m certain that she did not gaze into his eyes and think, “one day, this boy will grow into a man who molests children, be a drug addict, and doesn’t work.”
I’m sure she loved him and looked at him, full of potential and possibility. I began to pray for him like this.

A few weeks have gone by and I suddenly felt compelled to do an internet search for Dr Horrible’s mother. When they spoke against their 8 year old grandchild at the criminal trial to blindly defend a man who had already murdered one of their grandchildren, I made a very difficult choice to protect Melody from their denial.
I found that several months after Dr Horrible’s warrant was issued, before he was caught, his mother died.
Too many emotions to process through, days later… despite her defense of a man constantly caught and proven as willing to break the law, she was a kind woman to my face even when she had problems with me, while I was married to her son. Which is far more than I have received from Daryl’s mother at any point in my knowing her.

I lay in bed last night thinking how sad it must have been for her. Dr Horrible caused the death of her first birth grandchild, and then through his molestation and her denial he robbed her of her second (and hopefully last) grandchild. She must have seen this in a small way, especially after he violated his parole and she was faced with his problems yet again. I felt sad for her… loving this little boy, grown to be a man, who would throw his life away, break so many people down, and rob her of her chance to be with her grandchildren… and then to leave this earth, not seeing his repentance and redemption.

I lay in bed and prayed God would show me two things. One, if I should contact Dr Horrible and tell him that regardless of whether he admits his wrong that I forgive him so that *I* can be free and that I hope he can be free in Christ someday, too. I also prayed that a way would be shown to me to speak to the parole board and basically say that I don’t agree with breaking people down in a prison and I want restoration for Dr Horrible, I also don’t want him near children until he is willing to admit his actions and seek help.

This morning, I received what seemed like a serendipitous call from the state’s victim services, for victims of people who are incarcerated or on parole.
Rather than be shaken, I was calm and focused and accepting, when I was told he was at that moment being released and they wanted me to know.
It was during this conversation that I learned why he violated parole. He admitted to assaulting a co-worker. For that, he received 6 months. Then released. With a remainder of 10 years on his original sentence to serve parole for.
It was told to me that he hasn’t actually been charged with the crime *yet,* but it is in the works… which means that he may go back to prison for this very act that violated his parole.

Had this been told to me a year or so ago, I would have been terrified that he was out again. But, God is bigger than this. I can see Him working, and I have only seen His goodness in the midst of humanity’s evil.

This day, I was released from that fear. Recognizing that I was not leaning on my own understanding/terror, but entrusting our path to God, felt like…. a very brief glimpse beyond the mystical veil… it felt comforting and awakening all at once.

I can only pray that Dr Horrible will soon find glimpses like these, too.

We all indoctrinate

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Awhile back, I was having a relaxing time with some mama friends, while our children played together. It had been some time since I’d spent time with either of them, so questions revolved around updates, really. Both are public school moms now, so it was interesting to hear the phrase from both of them, “I’m so glad they are doing this. It’s exactly what X-child needed and they are so happy.”

It’s so strange to hear parents say this, for me. It also makes me sad for them and their children.

If you don’t mention “school” to your children, they will invariably hear it from someone else. Children are curious, but I’ve met very few 4 and 5 year olds who actually vocalize that they *want* to leave their home and be away from their parent 4-8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
What I have seen is parental build-up. We talk up all the “cool” things that going away means, without mentioning the negative aspect at all. Like, neat friends to play with (that, in a year they’ll either be separated from into different classrooms, or be chastised for talking to while in classes the brunt of their day). Such as the adventure of learning (to standardized tests). Such as recess (inside a fence, generally, set at someone else’s discretion)!! How fun!

All of those things can (and should) be experienced anywhere…. more often, and honestly, outside of an institutionalized setting. And generally with delight rather than an eventual dread or sense of drudgery.

All of these are things that they could be saying the exact reverse of, if they chose to be the kind of person (I have not yet met a mother incapable of it) they know is required of homeschooling:
“We’ll be starting a learning schedule this year, but you’re still going to get to hang out with the neighbor kids, Mrs. Linsky at the retirement home, and the kids at gymnastics, plus you’re going to start to meet new kids of all ages when we all chose to put homeschool community activities in our schedule. You’re going to get to make and spend time with so many new friends through homeschooling, while keeping your current friends!”
“You know how we’ve been counting buttons, taking nature walks, and listening to folk songs? You’ve been learning this whole time – and you get to keep exploring this whole wide world! I’m so proud of your curious nature and desire to learn! It’s pretty cool, huh?”
“It will only take 1-2 hours a day, then the rest of the day is free to play, read, draw, help around the house, dance, whatever we want or need to do. We get to control our own day, each day.”

I think, though, that most parents don’t realize that they have indoctrinated… conditioned and prepared… their children to “be happy” with the parent’s decision, regardless, anyway.
If I am to be honest, we all indoctrinate our children, for better or worse, and that includes me.
I would rather my children learn the message that it’s healthy and good to be a family that grows together, especially through the struggle of every day rhythm than the alternative message that we all need extremely large breaks from one another 5 days a week to function as a unit, that breaking up the family unit so regularly and for such long periods of time is “for the best” or will make any one of us truly “happy.”

I do not want to teach my children that “peaceful” family life comes from being apart… because, from experience in my own life, and watching others, I simply know that is not true. It’s cognitive dissonance, to tell ourselves that sending our children off for so long is what “works best for all of us,” when the reality is so very different.

Mothers who say that to homeschool their teen was causing their teen to act out, so *giving them what they wanted* was the most peaceful thing for their home –

Mothers who say in one breath they love their (growing, curious, needy) kids and in the next, “but” they couldn’t stand being home with them all day long… but could tolerate obnoxious (knowing-better) adults all day in a “fulfilling” job situation –

Mommas who say they dread summer vacation, because their kids “drive them crazy” –

Do all mom’s need breaks sometimes? Sure. But 9 or more hours out of a child’s 13-14 waking hours, 5 days a week? This is not a short break, it’s a complete disconnect for most of a small child’s waking hours, the majority of a week.

I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed before, contemplating a change from homeschooling. I’m not immune to sinful thoughts or feelings, a desire to have someone else deal with an unruly, mean-spirited child the majority of their day. I also don’t try to pretend that the desire I once had to send them away, was right or good. It just was what I was going through. It made me dig into the Word of Truth, cry out to God, and be once again convicted that His written will for families to be together, is for a reason and He can be trusted.

Trusting Him truly *has* been exactly what our family needs, and while we are not always happy, as we strive to serve Him more, we find more joy and contentment, together. This is true for everyone who surrenders to His will for family with a spirit of joyful obedience.

July Challenge: Quotes!

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I am excited to participate in a blogging challenge, hosted by Jennifer and Lynn, to get the blogging “mojo” flowing.

July Blogging Challenge

What a great idea, ladies! Thank you for hosting this.

Today, the second of July is Quotes, and it comes at a perfect timing, as I just wrapped up my 2nd semester of a Mother’s Feast, and I want to take note of some of my favorite, inspiring quotes from books that I read through.

Let’s start out with two quotes that have been so fully realized in this semester, that, while I’d read these via other’s books or blogs before, it finally became alive to me, and has helped me be put more at ease about Melody’s learning schedule. That is, the science of relations:

“Education is the Science of Relations’; that is, that a child has natural relations with a vast number of things and thoughts: so we train him upon physical exercises, nature lore, handicrafts, science and art, and upon many living books, for we know that our business is not to teach him all about anything, but to help him to make valid as many as may be of––
‘Those first-born affinities,
That fit our new existence to existing things.'”
~ Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education , with a quote from The Prelude by William Wordsworth

“The art of standing aside to let a child develop the relations proper to him is the fine art of education, when the educator perceives the two things he must do and how to do these two things. The evolution of the individual is a natural sequence of the opening up of relations.”
~Charlotte Mason, School Education

The last few months has been the first time I’ve seen it so very clearly… that letting things alone, just reading, interacting with others, enjoying nature and the arts, simply being… will result in making connections necessary to each person. I mean, yes, I have experienced that my entire life, but I hadn’t experienced it with Charlotte Mason’s thoughts about relations running in the back of my brain. It has helped me feel less stress about if I am *cramming* enough into Melody’s learning schedule. If I can obtain beautiful connections, with quite meager readings (a chapter or two out of one or two books a day), Melody surely can with a wider array of educational feast planned into each day.

Some of my other quotes from this semester collide together in different ways that I am soon to write about, but I will share them simply as the beautiful or inspiring quotes that they are, all on their own.

“As I stated earlier, these unresolved feeling vibrations can never be considered dead and buried, because they are energies that are still alive – resonating at some level. And these feelings will manifest themselves somewhere, sometime. Their vibrations are on-going. How liberating it is to know that any negative on-going vibrations you are storing inside you can be transformed into permanent, positive, healing energy vibrations.”
~ Karol K. Truman, Feelings: Buried Alive, Never Die…

“We close, then, imagining ourselves in conversation with Pilate, with one who only understands politics from the point of view of human agency and expedience. He can get us off the hook. We can defend our positions and interests, and perhaps go back to Galilee. Or, if we choose, we can steer the conversation by saying that we operate out of a completely different political context, one that prizes divine revelation and human relationality. The risk of taking this position, though, is that as we claim an alternative political identity, we may suffer the consequences that involve shame and disgrace. At a minimum,  we will be misunderstood by the majority. In the end, if we have the courage to testify of God’s newness through this nonaction, it will be our belief in the power of agape love that leads us to refrain from participating in the conventional forms of power management. This trust in the power of agape love would, to be sure, reflect the nature of our true citizenship.”
~Ted Lewis, Electing Not to Vote: Christian Reflections on Reasons for Not Voting

“Spirituality that saves men from hell and keeps men from vulgar sins is wonderful, but, I believe, elementary. When Paul went to the Cross, the miracle of conversion and regeneration took place; but later when he got on the Cross, the greater miracle of identification took place. That I believe is the masterly argument of the Apostle – to be dead and alive at the same time. “Ye are dead,” Paul wrote the Galatians. Suppose we try this on ourselves first. Are we dead? – dead to blame or praise? dead to fashion and human opinion? dead so that we have no itch for recognition? dead so that we do not squirm if another gets praised for a thing that we engineered? Oh sweet, sublime, satisfying experience of the indwelling Christ by the Spirit!”
~ Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries

“Yes, this is a major paradigm shift in how we view health and wellness. It means you have power and control over your own health, but it also means you have to take some responsibility and initiative in terms of making the time to read it, learn it and live it.
~ Amy Yasko, Feel Good Nutrigenomics

“In contrast, one of the hallmark characteristics of Jesus’ ministry is that His disciples were with Him. If you think about it, three years wasn’t a long time for Him to prepare eleven of His twelve closest followers to establish the church. But it was three years of being with Jesus – of talking with Him every day, listening to His teaching, watching His miracles, feeling His embrace – that made that time long enough. You have a lot longer than three years to spend with each of your children, but that may not be long enough if they are seldom with you. If culture gets more of your children than you do, then it’s time to reclaim your God-given nurturing role in their lives.”
~ Clay Clarkson, Heartfelt Discipline

If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view. But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic-there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong: but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.”
~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Okay… so this isn’t a quote, but a picture from the book I just finished reading, Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief by Katy Bowman, but it’s said that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” right?

Imagine putting any degree of lift (heel on a shoe) under one side of a bookshelf in your home like this! YIKES. Image: copyright Restorative Exercise, Inc.

Fragility Needed Here

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Five and a half years ago, after becoming a single mother (and not stating that it was due to learning about the molestation), I wrote about trusting God’s provision when obeying His written Word. I hope it may encourage someone now.

You know, I’ve been thinking upon how utterly difficult this situation is over the last week or so. Not just feeling it, but looking at it as objectively as I can. This would be a situation that I know even many Christians would say is a “gray” area of life.

While this is difficult, I do know that God has all the right answers for this. He is not going to leave me to flounder. I truly see Him as decisive, while showing many creative outlets within that amazing “black and white” stability.

I know that His Word is true. He will not command all older Christian women to teach the younger Christian women to be chaste, filled with grace, to keep at home, to love others with abandon (and by implication, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic understanding, and logical thinking, all younger Christian women are to follow the teachings), and then not make a way possible to do just that.

God will not make this situation impossible for me to obey Him through. I can still love others, can still be modest and pure, can still be a keeper at home, can still be graceful and kind. If I see no way to do these things, it is not God allowing the world to make it “impossible” for me to obey, but rather, that I have simply not seen the ways to obey.

God has already clearly provided me understanding to see ways to provide for my little family from home. God has brought a little man into our life to watch and minister to (something I am still grappling with is how to minister to his family and put an awareness to his mother about trusting God to provide for wives/mothers through staying at home – God will also provide without this bit of income), a lady in want of home-cooked meals that desires to pay for them, and my natural living supplies business is slowly but very surely taking off (a local natural food co-op has picked up several of my products!). Every wife/mother that decides to trust God and keep at home will have a different looking situation. Not only in their financial need, but also in how God will creatively reveal Himself in how they can contribute to the family income from home.

God has provided through the Body to meet needs outside of what I am making from home. When the last bit of the financial puzzle is put in place (a boarder), I will no longer require the help of my family or Church on a financial level. However, I am thankful for this time as much as it humbles me. I had not yet seen a church or community of Believers actively live out God’s command to care for the widow. And now, I have seen it, felt it.

I had become hopeless that many other Christians would fulfill that command… but I have a deep knowledge that a great number of His people do listen to this very specific command.

(While my husband is yet living, understand that what is going on is grievous and it is as a great loss to myself and Melody. It is as though he has died. We have come upon a sudden and terrible tragedy that took him from us. He made it that I would be a widow, devoid of his presence and provision.)

This situation has required that I have a fragile heart. God requires that I not be strong at all moments, but I allow myself to grieve.

I believe that is why I became so sick a little bit ago. I became physically weak and exhausted, I was in pain, and the realization that my husband was not there to help me was overwhelming.

I cried frequently during that last Thursday I was sick. I had cried only once in front of Melody before that, not allowing myself to cry any other time before her, to be strong for her. But that day, I could not stop crying. I look back and know that God wanted me to grieve. He wanted me to be able to be fragile and breakable before Him, and to allow Melody to see that need sometimes too.

Having a fragile heart is not just about emotions. It’s also about trust. When I said many times before that I have seen God to be “black and white” and the world is gray… when I have said that I see God’s command to keep at home as a true command for all wives/mothers, and that He will provide a way for women to obey that command…. I have to be willing to trust that when times really are tough. Trusting through “impossible” times truly breaks the human heart. It is a struggle to trust and obey. It’s not easy or fun most of the time when things are pressing you in on all sides and your humanity cannot always hear Him clearly.

I desire to have a fragile heart. I do not for a second wish to have a heart in any other state of being.

I desire and pray for your hearts to be willing, to trust and obey, even when times are tough, and it seems like the way is blocked and impossible. God makes a way for you to obey Him, for all to obey Him.