The kids and I were dog-sitting the other day and were kind of feeling the cabin fever creep in. I told everyone to hop in the van. We were going to go for a ride down memory lane. I drove my van to the ranch I grew up on. We parked on the gravel road and jumped out. As we walked up the road, memories just flooded my mind. I told the kids about racing my horse as fast as I could down this road (bareback mind you) and trying to just hang on! We used to play Indiana Jones along the "jungles" of the creek's riparian zone. Now there is a fence along the creek to keep the cows out.
Of course, I had to talk about the dump, too. To the left side of the road was an old dump. As kids, one of our favorite things to was to go to the dump, find every glass bottle and smash them on the biggest rock we could find. I was able to point out the rock, too! The same old stove, box springs and washing machine drum was still sitting there. Crazy!
I told them about the bones of the old cow that used to be scattered under the trees. We used to pick through them and count the vertebrates. I looked over there, there were still some bones there!
Then I saw the big rock we used to climb. I remember my mom taking pictures of my sis and I on that rock. I told the kids to jump up there so I could a picture. I wish I could have got all of them on there. But only three were willing.
I told them about some of the naughty things we did as kids (like spitting on signs as we went by). My seven year old, Jacob, looked up at me and said, "Mom, I wish I had a childhood like yours. Yours was fun!". You are right, son. It was fun. It was free from TV, video games, computers, and phones. We just used our imaginations and played. My kids really can't imagine a world like that. Just like I can't imagine a world that my grandparents grew up in.
I am so thankful that my parents still have a ranch that my kids can grow up going to. We are truly blessed. Even though it is a different ranch, it is still a world away from the town life. Such valuable life lessons are being taught to them.
Sometimes you just have to pause and just have a little fun in life. After church last week, we headed out to my folk's ranch. It was almost 60 degrees out. The kids saw that the creek was running and begged to play in it.
I was tempted to say "no", due to the fact that we had no extra clothes, or shoes if they fell in and got wet. I decided to just not care. My kids are not going to melt and they are not weenies like their mother. I grabbed my camera and decided to come with them. They set up a "camp" and started finding old metal stuff and began "cooking" some stew. It reminded me exactly of what I used to do growing up on a ranch. We did not have TV, video games, phones or the internet. We just had a huge 3000 acre ranch to run all over and explore! We would play for hours by the creek. Mixing up mud-pies and selling them to pretend costumers, was one such adventure.
Well, you guess it, the kids got soaked! They were cold. Their teeth were chattering, but they were having so much fun!
Here is Lily capturing some water for her tasty "stew".
We enjoyed each other and the beautiful February day. After being cooped up in the house this winter, it amazes me how much less they fight when they are outside in the open space. Suddenly they are working as a team to build something. They are unified!
I want to do this more often. Take time to play. Take time to enjoy these precious six blessings that God has given me. My oldest son has only a few more years before he flies the coop. Is it possible? I look at my youngest and know it will truly happen in the blink of an eye. Am I too busy to enjoy it? Am I too focused on escaping the chaos that I miss my opportunities to have fun with them. Why must I always be so protective? Serious? Impatient? It is usually because I am focused on what isn't important.
"Please Lord, help me to focus on what you want me to focus on. Let your love, patience and joy come out of me and pour onto my children. Our family has been through a rough time. We have shed many tears. We have been angry and hurt and torn. But you are restoring us to something new. You are pouring out your compassion upon us. We have survived this and now let us not just survive, but thrive, Lord! You have cut off our branches so that we might bear more fruit for You. May it be a great harvest! In Your precious Son's name, Jesus, Amen."
I am feeling overwhelmed by what the Lord is doing in our lives. I just got back from speaking at a small church in Eastern Oregon. They invited me to share my testimony and to teach them how to protect their families from pornography. The night before I spoke, I was plagued by nightmares. I woke up feeling depressed and oppressed. I wouldn't really call it fear. It was a burden that I knew I wasn't meant to bear. As I told my sister about it, she immediately laid her hands on me. Together we transferred that burden back to the the One who was meant to bear it. Jesus...The oppression left and I felt no worries in my heart for that coming night.
As I entered the church, I cannot tell you the love that I felt for the people, and the love they felt for me. People I never met were kind and compassionate and grateful that I had come.
During the speech, I felt like it was an out of body experience. I knew it wasn't me. It was the Lord talking through me. In my own flesh, I am weak and timid, fearful of what a more experienced person would think of this ordinary mom, with no counseling degree, or any other degree other than a high school diploma. I didn't think of those things as I spoke boldly to this group on pornography within the church, within marriage, and how it is affecting our children's lives. College degrees don't matter when you have the Degree of Pain.
The best part of the night was the hour we spent in question and answer time. What blessed me was watching the people of God, talk about this difficult and uncomfortable subject. Dialogue was taking place! I left knowing that God had opened a can of worms and that they had a new perspective. I believed that they were going to be DOERS of the Word, not just HEARERS.
One lady spoke up at the end, with tears in her eyes. She said that she knew God was working in our lives. Another said God was being glorified! Oh, He was!!! He is glorified when we are obedient even when it is risky and it hurts.
I saw my sons the next morning and I was able to thank them for letting me share their stories. I don't know many teenage boys that would allow their mother to do something like that. The reason why I have this ministry is because they want to help others as well. I praise God for their willingness. Only the Lord knows how many lives will be affected because of it.
I thank all of the parents out there that have allowed me to share their stories as well. I felt you on that stage with me. All the emails, phone calls and texts that I have received from hurting parents, and wives whose lives were devastated by pornography has fueled me to keep pressing on in this. I hear you, I hurt for you, and I am confident that God is using each one to help others avoid the pitfalls that the enemy has laid for them.
The Lord is good and what He does is good. I cannot stop praising Him for what He has done and what He is going to do.He is turning my mourning into dancing. My tears have sown joy.
God has used His Word to me through a devastation our family
has suffered through for the last two years. On exactly this day, January 23
(two years ago), our lives would be
changed forever. I was never good at
memorizing God’s Word, even though I was very familiar with it. When our devastation
occurred, I was pleased that the Word of God poured forth out of my mouth when
I was in an almost mental and spiritually-paralyzed state. As I entered my
crisis of belief, I had to truly determine as Job did, who God was and is He
truly good. I knew that I “could curse God and die,” or I could trust Him and
believe that he was good and was for me and my family and fall on my knees and
As I opened my Bible
in my grief, I would cry out to Him and wonder why He wasn't answering my
prayers. There were nights when the pain was so great that I would fall asleep
reading His Word. The enemy would plant fears in me so strong, that I was
afraid to let go of the Word. I would sleep with it open beside me, my hand
resting upon it. It became more important than food and water. I could barely
eat, but God fed me with His Word. He sustained me in my darkest hour. Nothing
else could satisfy. When the enemy would plant thoughts of discouragement,
distrust and confusion in my mind, God’s Word whispered in my ear. “NO!” “I am
the way, the truth and the life. Trust in me! I am your strength and your
shield, your very great reward.” His love washed over me minute by minute, hour
by hour, day by day, month by month and now two years later I can say he is
still lovingly carrying me through this.
Something I have learned to do when I am going through a
time of confusion is to ask God for a Word for that particular situation or
crisis. He almost will always give me a portion of Scripture that I can say
quickly in my head if I start to falter and doubt. I pray continually that God
will open my eyes to see the wonders of Himself, His love, His sacrifice, His
creation, His Words, His forgiveness, His grace, His mercy, His provision, and
His healing. He is wonderful and I am so thankful that I can communicate with
him throughout each and every day. I know I am not alone, He is near to me. I
can tell my God anything! I can rant and rave, which turns into surrender and
worship. I am free to express my feelings and emotions without offending Him.
One of my favorite miracles that God blessed us with during
this trial, was about four months into our crisis, we found out that our son would need to enter into a therapy that cost around $8,000. We live
paycheck to paycheck (like everyone else) and I just couldn't figure out how we
were going to pay it. I remember getting into the van and escaping to the store
by myself. On my way I was feeling very oppressed. The financial burden was so
great I felt it physically weighing me down. I cried out to God and said, “Take
this, it is too big! You are going to have to provide for us.” I went to the
store, and went into the post office to get the mail. As I sat in my van and
started going through the mail, a small card slipped out and landed on my lap.
I saw that it was from a fellow blogger who had seen my blog and was praying
for our family. I opened the card and a $2,000 check slipped out. I read the
card and it said, “A cattle on a thousand hills are His, please use this to
help with your son’s counseling fees”.
She and her husband had no idea that we even needed it. I just felt the Lord say, “See I
got this, Stacie. I will take care of you.” It was the seed of faith that I
needed to get me through that really tough time. Not long after that we found
out that another source would pay for the other $6,000. Is God not amazing?
Almost a year and a half ago, the same son was hospitalized
in a psychiatric ward for children because he was having a terrible time with
suicidal and homicidal thoughts. We found out he had been misdiagnosed with ADD
when he was actually dealing with a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive
Disorder. Although it was a terrifying time, God used it to show us what we
were dealing with and get him on a medication that worked for him. The hospital
stay ended up being over $23,000. I didn't worry this time. I even got a bill
that said, we might have to pay thousands of dollars. I gave it to the Lord,
knowing he would take care of us. I rejoiced when I got a statement that said
all but $100 had been covered by insurance!
Because of our family’s experience, I have been able to
comfort others with the comfort I have received. God has entrusted me with a
new ministry that educates and equips Christian parents on how to protect their
families from the dangers that come from living in a very technological world.
Almost every day, God allows me to share my testimony with someone who is being
bruised and battered by their family member’s choices. I have also been able to speak to several
different groups outside of our community. Every time I get a chance to speak,
I feel like there is purpose to my pain as I aggressively take back territory
that the enemy tried to steal from me.
So here I
am, exactly two years later, taking back ground and trusting in a mighty God
who is redeeming and restoring my family. Daily His promises are being
fulfilled in my life. He can do what He says He can do. His Word is alive and active in me and I AM
My name is Stacie. I have been married
to Steve for 18 and a half years. He is a firefighter/paramedic and has worked at a small department for 21 years. We have six children ages 15, 13, 10, 8, 6, and
four. There are four boys and two girls. We homeschooled them for seven years,
but have since put them in public school.
I have been a Christian
since I was six. I grew up going to Sunday school and church. I thought I knew
the Bible because I knew all the major stories like David and Goliath, Samson,
Daniel, and Jesus dying on the cross. Basically, I knew basics.
I didn’t have any desire or need except every once in a
while when I was going through a crisis, to pick up God’s Word throughout my
teens and early twenties.
I grew up, got married at age 20 and continued to live a
very moderate, powerless Christian life. I thought I knew the Word but in
reality I knew almost nothing.
I began working as a church secretary, when I
became pregnant with my first child at the age of 22. Because I was pretty
efficient at my job, I had a lot of time on my hands. I started to read some of
the pastor’s magazines that came in the church’s mail. I began to realize that
there was a lot about the Bible I had never heard of. I suddenly felt very
incompetent. I knew that when my children grew up they would start asking me
biblical questions. It terrified me to think that I might not have a clue how
to answer them. I remember God and I distinctly having a conversation. It went
something like this:
“I want to raise my children the best way possible. I want
to be the best mother I can be.”
I felt him saying, “Do you think what you are doing is
working or do you want to start doing things MY way?”
I said, “Your way,
Lord. I know my way isn’t working.” It was my first step
of surrender. I was 23 years old.
I didn’t have a clue how to do this Bible thing. A friend invited
me to her Bible study and I sat there as she opened up the book of Philippians and
went on and on about the history of Paul and the church of Philippi. I sat slack
jawed and asked her how in the world she knew all that. I felt totally
inadequate, ignorant and stupid, but I kept going and listened and learned so
much from her.
After my second child was born, I was invited to a women’s
retreat where a missionary woman came and talked with us about how she raised
her three children in the jungles of Papua New Guinea . She kept saying over
and over how she would turn to God’s word and it would give her strength. I
only had two children and I was living a comfortable American life style and I
felt like I was drowning. After the
talk, I felt God nudging me to ask the most spiritual person I knew that was in
the room (a precious older woman named, Shirley). The woman oozed God! When she opened her mouth,
the power of God’s Word came forth. I knew she was different and I knew I wanted
to be that kind of a person. I was
honest and told her, “I know it is important to study the Bible, but there is
NOTHING in me that wants to open it. It’s a book that is boring and I know all
the major stories. What do I do? How do I enjoy reading God’s Word?”
Shirley told me that I needed to pray that God would give me
a thirst for His Word. I remember her and several other ladies circling around
me and praying that I would receive that thirst. The second I opened up my
Bible again, I knew something had changed. I wanted to open it! I wanted to
read and receive whatever God had for me. This was the second step of surrender
to my Savior.
I am Miss
Over-Achiever, so I read the whole Bible from front to back in five months. Now
I had a zillion questions about what I had just read. The Lord led me to get a Life
Application Bible that had the little footnotes under the confusing passages. I read the Bible all the way through again
studying all those footnotes with it. I was finally grasping how wonderful God’s
Word really was. I was daily being convicted and encouraged and it completely
changed my life. This was good because we kept adding children to our family.
We finally topped out at six. I needed all of God’s help and wisdom that I
I discovered in-depth Bible studies about 12 years ago. God
has only used them to increase my thirst for His Word as each year goes by. I
love studying a book or a subject by dissecting it! I find great joy in
discovering the connections between the Old Testament and the New!
I am going on a journey with God that is insane. I remember distinctly about 8 years ago, I was in the middle of a Bible study called, "Beloved Disciple". I heard God telling me to fasten my seat belt because my life would be a roller coaster journey if I decided to obey and surrender to Him. I had no idea what He had in store for me. I think at that time I was in the middle of having all my babies. Thriving instead of surviving motherhood was my ultimate goal. I was trusting God as Steve and I both felt that we were being led to have a large family. I knew he was going to give me the tools that I needed and I knew by having a large family I was definitely going to face opposition from the world and from my beloved family and friends. What we were doing was NOT normal, but we kept trusting God.
We had a tiny house (975 square feet) and we had just had our fourth child. Our baby slept in a playpen in our living room because there was no room for him in the kid's bedroom. But I knew that we were not supposed to move until we had our debt paid off. As soon as I signed the last check to the credit card company, two days later God gave us this four bedroom, roomy house! I was so glad I waited on Him.
I felt God leading me into homeschooling my children. Again, it was against the norm. I had never even considered it and yet I did it for seven years. They were crazy, wild, fun and hard years. So many goods and so many bads. But I wouldn't take back one of them. God wanted me to experience homeschooling and he gave me a vision for my children so that when he called me out of it, they could stand under the pressure of public school. My mothering was intentional. I always said "character before academics". If that meant we didn't get one lick of school work done that day, that was OK. You could be a successful businessman, but if you have no love or respect for others, you hadn't gained anything. This mentality served my children well when they went into the public school system.
As I sent my children to an institution that I feared practically more than life itself, I kept hearing God whisper in my ear, "you can trust me with your children.". As school shootings increased, my fears would increase. My mind would create all kinds of scenarios and I would not have peace. When they kept getting sick and lice notices were handed to us almost weekly, I kept praying that God would get us through it. So far we have not got lice once! That is a miracle! As the Common Core Standards started being implemented in our school, again I wanted to panic and try to fight it or control it somehow. I have done all I can do (written to my senators, representatives, attended school meetings on it, written to the education department) and all to no avail. I am going to trust God with my children's education. Because I have homeschooled I know that there are a lot of options out there. I can think outside the box and know that my children will be OK when they move into higher education, even if they don't do extremely well in the academics department. When evolution is taught, I tell my children, "Good, don't be afraid of it. You need to know what the world believes. But we can say in our heads, "not true", every time we hear the millions of years lingo." I have taught my children a biblical world view and it has served them well.
Our roller coaster really did a loopty-do when my oldest son made his gigantic mistakes and devastated our family. As we went upside down over and over again, I kept crying out, "I want off this roller coaster, Lord! I am sick, I am tired and I can't keep going!" It wasn't exciting anymore, it was scary and there were too many unknowns. I wasn't shrieking because I was feeling joy, I was screaming because I was in pain. God somehow kept me tightly secured in that seat belt until we got out of the loopty-dos. As we started getting on a more even track, there would be times when we would shoot up a steep hill and then have to come down very fast. But I was learning that God could be trusted. He wasn't going to let that roller coaster fall off it's track.
This last two weeks, we have experienced victories that were unimaginable a two ago. We have had some breakthroughs in our son's situation and in our house situation. Downright miracles! I am waiting patiently for the Lord to work it all out and I know that I have gained a greater patience because God has made me wait. What I once fretted over, I don't fret over anymore. Housing is nothing compared to your hurting children. I would take a housing issue any day than watch helplessly because my child was in emotional pain.
I am alive. I am breathing! As much as I am tempted sometimes to get off this roller coaster called a "Surrendered Christian life", I know I must stay on it because every time we go up that steep terrain or we do a loopty-do, I can praise God and give Him the glory for getting us through it. Christian lives are not meant to be boring. They are meant to be exciting and beautiful. Our testimonies are our lights that shine before men. They point the way to Jesus. Please share it! We all need to be encouraged.
Has God done something exciting in your life? Please share in the comment section.
I can't believe we are in a new year already! What in the world happened to last year? It has been pretty silent on this blog, because I have been enjoying having my kids home from school. We have had down days and busy days, but they have been wonderful. I do not take breaks from school for granted. I so enjoy having my children around me, caring for them, hugging them and talking with them.
(Josh is looking sharp at my Grandpa's funeral. He honored Grandpa Fay by wearing his dress coat. Grandpa would have been so pleased)
We have got to see lots of family during the holidays. I am so thankful that all three sets of our parents are within 3 hours driving distance! Also, my brother and his wife and children are just 45 minutes away and my sister is now just two hours away. We are such a close family because of it.
Our children have had the opportunity to be part of our little church's Christmas Story again. I love watching them participate with cheerful attitudes (the first this year) as they play shepherds and angels. Marcus got to be King Herod this year.
(I have been able to watch my brother and SIL's children a few times this past week. They are such sweeties! Our children LOVE to play with their cousins.)
Before school got out, Steve and I so enjoyed watching the children perform in their Christmas program at school. They sang some really fun songs and made us all laugh with their adorable antics!
We were hit earlier this December with some REALLY cold weather. Cold for us, anyway. I think the lowest was -1. Brrrr! I was praying that our heat pump wouldn't quit on us. But it pulled through! Thank you, Lord! We stayed warm and just holed up watching movies, playing games and reading.
Yep, Josh is officially taller than me and Marcus is getting pretty close. They are both trying hard in school. Proud of both of them and the effort they are putting into it. I am not a mom that requires A's and B's, I just want them to put effort into whatever it is they are working at. I try to be a cheerleader that encourages them when they stumble and fall. I use phrases like "What are you going to do about that?" or "Is their anything I can do to help". I am really trying to not micro-manage my children as much as I used to. It seems to be working because everyone is much more relaxed when "Perfection Mom" is not on the rampage!
We are in the thick of basketball season, so starting next weak we will be averaging three games a week, not to mention practices. I used to have such a hard time with this. I was not a sporty person, so I never thought I would make this a priority for our children. But when some of your children seem to excel and enjoy something, it is hard to say no. I just don't want to do it all year. Spring and summer is when I refuse to let them play anything. We all need to rest, recoup and not be running around all the time. I am OK with sports if I know it is just for a season.
(Lily begged for a gingerbread house this year. I bought it for them and let them figure the whole thing out. I love that they are getting older and can figure things out for themselves. That's half the fun, right?!?)
I have had time to read some really good books lately. My favorite one that I couldn't put down is called "Confession of an Imperfect Mom: A Path to Less Guilt and More Grace" by Julie Barnhill. Through this God's Word and the encouragement in this book, God is teaching me to relax more and realize that my children's future isn't all up to what I have done and what I haven't. Man, I am just soooo controlling. I need to give myself more grace. God can work through my mistakes that I have made. What a relief! I am also reading Lynn Austin's new book "Return to Me", which has been excellent so far. Her biblical fiction is amazing. I am learning all about the Israelite's return to Babylon. So many lessons for me!
Even though life is still very hard and stressful, we continue to wait on God's perfect timing in many areas. We are still wanting to move closer to the children's school and our church. We have a buyer for our house, so now we are waiting for a house to go for sale that is within our price range and is big enough for our large family. In His way and His time.
This apple crisp recipe is great for potlucks or family gatherings! It fills up a 9x13 pan.
Mom's Apple Crisp
8 peeled, sliced apples
1 1/2 cups of sugar (I use sucanat)
6 TBS flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups of boiling water.
Put apples in greased 9x13 baking dish. Mix above ingredients and sprinkle over apples. Pour boiling water over apples.
For Topping Mix, combine...
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of packed brown sugar (or sucanat)
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
(my mom likes to add a cup of sliced almonds to the topping mix)
Place Topping Mix on top of apples. Bake at 350 degrees 40-50 minutes or until crispy on top.
I also like to exchange about half of the flour to whole wheat pastry flour. It doesn't change the texture, but it gives you more whole grains.
I ran across this today and I thought I would share this powerful lesson with you as well.
"We can do nothing to make our own hearts clean and pure. God creates clean hearts from nothing. God does not form clean hearts in us with the existing materials of our righteous acts and self-disciplines. If we had all those things, our human natures would more likely form them into the stuff of self-righteousness and pride rather than purity of heart. God creates pure hearts from nothing in response to our sincerest repentance and desire to be pure before Him."- Beth Moore from her Believing God Bible study
No matter how much I study the Bible and practice my spiritual disciplines, I cannot make my own heart clean. Only the blood of the lamb can do that. I thank God that He did not allow me to stay in my self-righteousness. Since our devastation with our oldest son, God has used it to strip my pride away. I tried to be the perfect parent. I know I self-righteously thought, "Well, if others would just do this, this and this, then they wouldn't be in the pickle they are in with their children." Boy was I wrong! There is not formula. I prayed for my kids, I DEVOURED God's Word. I homeschooled my children to try to protect them from the World's evil influences and yet it didn't matter. My son chose to sin and the consequences of that devastated our family.
Now here we are, 20 months later STILL trying to pick up the pieces. At the beginning of this, I just wanted a plan, a time-line or some indication of when life would get back to "normal". I wanted to be in CONTROL of my life. As we pick up piece by precious piece, I know that God is putting those broken fragments back onto a foundation that is ROCK solid. For I am allowing God to build my family "on the Rock who is higher than I". I don't have to know the plan two days from now, let alone two months, or two years. I just have to go with God's plans for me today. I have to trust that His plans are good even when they hurt.
I choose to look at the blessings in our situation. There are many. Too many to list here. These blessings have been mined through the hardest bedrock. They weren't just lying on the surface, ready to harvest, I had to DIG. But when I got to each blessing, and realized the Work it took to recognize it, I stand amazed at how precious they really are. Beautiful gems that are fit for my King Jesus.
I have been so completely transformed by this experience. There will always be trouble in the world, but Jesus has overcome the world. He is my all in all. He pray He always keeps me humble so I can be a true servant of God.
Wow! This school year seems to be flying by. I can't believe it is November already. I keep realizing just how fleeting the time is when you have children. I will one day look up and they will be flying from my nest!
(Picture taken Fall 2009)
The longer I parent, the more I realize just how easy those first years were. Establishing your family is one thing. It is exhausting physically and mentally, but there is so much that you are in control over. Once your children start getting into their tween and teen years, it is truly a whole different ballgame.
I beginning to understand the importance of building close relationships with my kids. When I get after a teenager, I can really hurt them. It lasts longer and I realize that bridges need to be repaired. I have to take responsibility for my snotty attitude, sarcasm or just out-of-control anger. Gee, I sound like a teenager! Maybe I still have some more growing up to do?
I tend to complain to my children a lot. I know this discourages them, but it doesn't help me either. They are kids! Works in progress. If I am constantly focused on the negative things, I am not seeing the special, kind and RIGHT things that they do.
When my kids load up in the van after school, I start asking them lots of open-ended questions. It creates communication other than "How was your day?". It makes them think and open up, but more importantly it makes me listen. I can learn so much just by listening.
If you are discouraged with your kids today, lift them up to God and ask that God to take away that negative, grumbling spirit that creeps in your heart.
There is much to be thankful for! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to actually take time and thank your Creator for the great things He is doing in your life and in the life of others around you.
Pornography has turned the Christian church into the
white-washed tombs that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 23:27-28 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are
like white-washed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside
are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the
outside you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside you are full of
hypocrisy and wickedness.”
The statistics say half
of Christian men are actively viewing pornography and
about 20% of Christian women, yes, Christian women, are either joining them or doing
it on their own. It starts with us, the parents. If we want to protect our
children from being enslaved to pornography, then we better be doing the work
ourselves. If you are viewing porn in anyway, then Satan has an “in” in your
home and in your children’s lives. You may be telling yourself that it isn’t
affecting anyone and that it’s just “spicing up” your marriage, but it’s
literally letting Satan into the front door of your home. He will wreak havoc
on you and your children. Do we want churches that are “full of dead men’s bones?” Or do we want a church that is
“alive, clean, not full of hypocrisy, but of the Holy Spirit”? Do we want to
“appear to be righteous”, or do we want to actually be “righteous”?
Many women have come to me and asked me “What should I do if
my husband wants me to watch porn with him?” The answer is NO! You are letting
another person into your marriage bed. It is impure, stained with sin and the
Lord will not bless your marriage. It is also extremely hurtful to the woman
who is having issues with her body image after having children to be compared
with a stoked up, enhanced, flat-tummied, fake woman. Husbands
are not loving their wives when they are asking her to be someone she is not. They
are letting their wives know that they aren't enough and they need more than what their wives can
* 42 percent of surveyed adults indicated that their partner’s
use of pornography made them feel insecure.Marriage
Related Research,Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D.
Christian Counseling Today, 2004 Vol. 12 No. 1.
* 41 percent of surveyed adults admitted they felt less
attractive due to their partner’s pornography use.Marriage Related Research,Mark
A. Yarhouse, Psy.D. Christian Counseling Today, 2004 Vol. 12 No. 1.
I also know of men who have tried to turn their wives into
their own personal porn star. They ask them to do very uncomfortable things
that are against nature. It is selfish s*x, and it is out of what they have
seen in pornography. They justify asking their wives to do these things because
they are keeping it within the confines of the marriage bed.
Be a godly husband
and love your wife as she is, the gift that the Lord gave to you. Sanctify your
eyes and your marriage bed. If you have done these things or are engaged in
this kind of activity, I pray that for the sake of yourself, your wife and your
children that you will repent so that God can raise up and rebuild your family
on the foundation of purity, love and righteousness.
This month has flown by! Where did October go? I haven't been on here much. My main focus has been my family, studying God's Word, and trying to build up and encourage women all around me. It is amazing to me how God uses my testimony almost every day. Somehow, someway, I am able to share with others how He is getting us through a long-term trial. He is good and He won't forsake us.
But every now and then, I get down in the dumps. The enemy taps on my shoulder and reminds me just how far we have left to go. Strangely he does this after each and every victory. When I am on a wonderful God-high and I am singing his praises, these times are when I am most vulnerable for the enemy to swoop in and create doubt and confusion. I am recognizing this tactic, though. I am starting to get ready for him.
God has been gracious and has taught me a thing of two on this journey of pain. He introduced me to Al-anon. Hmmm, you are thinking, oh no, her husband is a drunk! Well, he isn't. Actually, it was because of his issues with food that I started. During our 18-year marriage, I have tried every tactic to try to get him to lose weight. I have been shameless. I have not trusted God with this issue. Fear of being left with six children to raise drove me to new solutions, and manipulation tactics. It was driving a wedge in our marriage. There were many broken promises to change so bitterness has taken root in my heart. My friend, Catherine and my mom, urged me to get an Al-anon devotional book. I had grown up watching my mom read it so I went ahead and ordered it. Wow! I found that I didn't just use this book in my relationship with my husband, I could use this with all the people and situations in my life that caused me stress and anxiety.
It is all about changing YOU! You don't have the power to change anyone else. Everyone has their own bottom to hit. It teaches you have to be supportive and loving, with boundaries. It was a missing piece of the puzzle that God used to set me free.
The One Day at a Time concept has been profound for me. It is a Biblical concept (found in Matthew 6). "Do not worry about tomorrow, each day has enough trouble of it's own". I just had to share this with you...
"There are times when the "poor me" mood is upon us; we're overwhelmed by all the troubles we have to face. This is especially likely to happen when we have begun to try to change our thinking about ourselves and our relation to others. We may, at first, become too analytical and try to solve too much at once. This day is mine. It is unique. Nobody in the world has one exactly like it. It holds the sum of all my past experience and all my future potential. It belongs to me to do with whatever I like. I can fill it with joyous moments or ruin it with fruitless worry. If painful recollections of the past come into my mind, or frightening thoughts of the future, I will put them away. They cannot spoil today for me. "Today is my special gift from God. how will I use it? The less I let others affect it, the more serene and satisfying it will be for me."
I am continually amazed at God's goodness and mercy as He uses our devastation for His glory. I went to a women's retreat this weekend. There were many women from our small little church there. We came guarded, shy, and protective. We left with our hearts open and our hands and our faces lifted up. Many of these women were brave, opened up and shared old and new wounds and received healing from the Great Physician. The strong rallied around the weak. The weak were encouraged and began the process of forgiveness. We left encouraged that God IS working in our lives and He IS setting captives free from their heavy chains of bitterness and unforgiveness. I saw strongholds of shame be broken. I was able to share how God has erased my own shame for my child's failures.
I go to church with these women almost every Sunday. Why is it I did not know their pain? Why is it that we don't feel safe sharing with others. One word I heard over and over was "judgment". We live in a small community, they have felt judgment and so they shy back. They hide. They numb their pain in unhealthy ways.
Why must we judge others for their mistakes or for their children's mistakes? God help us!!! We need each other. The enemy's strategy is to trick us into thinking no one would accept us if they only knew what our family is going through. Every person in our church has a story. Some are worse than others, but pain is pain. It is all relative.
It is so easy in group settings to do "safe" prayer requests like asking for someone else's healing. Physical healing is safe. But what about spiritual and emotional healing?
As we went around the room and asked for prayer requests, we started the typical physical healings, at the end, one lone lady (not even from our church) asked for something personal. It was like an avalanche. All of a sudden, people were sharing some terrible things they and their families were going through. It just took one person being vulnerable.
We were given two gifts:
1) We know the person sitting in the pew in front of us is struggling. They aren't perfect and they are hurting. Now we have the privilege of walking beside them, encouraging and praying for them.
2) We get to refresh others with the refreshing we ourselves have received. We are the ones blessed!
Are we called to be safe or take risks? Are we called to keep our testimonies to ourselves or are we called to share them? God has given them to us as a gift. Be wise and never glorify sin, when you share. But we need to rip these perfect "Christian" masks off our face and start being real. That is where the healing begins.
I am coming down off of a spiritual high that I can't even describe to you. A church invited me to come and speak in a town about three hours from here. I had the privilege to share our family's testimony to about 40 individuals. The coolest part of this is that 2/3rds of the crowd were men! My audience up to this point has been mostly women.
I freely talked about how to protect our families from pornography. The love I felt well up in me for the Body of Christ was amazing. I've never felt such a protectiveness towards other believers. My heart hurts for them. Many Believers suffer in silence for fear of judgement. I encouraged these men and women to start being real with one another.
Just some of the issues I addressed were:
1) What porn does to your brain
2) Who is viewing porn
3) Porn consumption in the church
4) Pastors and porn use
5) Porn in marriage
6) Triggers and brokenness that lead to porn use
7) Filters and blocks (how do they work and which ones are the best?)
8) Educating our children about porn, how to avoid it, and what to do when they come across it
9) What to do if you child has been caught viewing porn
10) How to move towards your child when they make mistakes
12) How to encourage instead of judge parents whose kids have really messed up.
13) How to kill worry and fear. Trusting God with your family
14) How to fight the good fight and much, much more! There are lots of resources out there now.
I truly believe in the verse that says, "He who refreshes others, will himself be refreshed." I have been refreshed! I can continue on this hard, seemingly never-ending journey knowing that I am equipping others so they do not make the same mistakes I did.
Eight people came up to me afterwards and shared their stories! God is doing something mighty here! I have such hope.
I hear this song frequently ringing in head,
"Where You go, I'll go.
When You stay, I'll stay.
When You move, I move.
I will follow You"
Two precious women traveled almost 60 miles and shared with me how much their small community is being rocked by sexual sin. She has asked me to come and speak to their church, so their church body can be equipped to know how to handle this kind of devastation within their own walls, and to minister to adults and teens in their community.
People wonder why our teens are out of control. When the adults and authority figures in their lives are leading sexually immoral lives themselves, it creates untold confusion. We have to be having deep and honest discussions with these kids or we are going to lose them. It starts with us, the adults!!!
The problem of pornography and sexual abuse is in the rise. It is an epidemic that is NOT going to go away. It is here to stay, but we have to remember that God is BIGGER than this problem. He will show Himself faithful to those who seek Him and want to be set free from sexual addiction. He died on the cross to set you free from ANY stronghold that erects itself in your life. You and your loved ones can be free! There is hope!!!
If you or you know someone who is struggling with sexual addiction, the best book I've ever read is called Surfing for God. I have a link on my sidebar for it. This book really moves from just seeking accountability, to really addressing the brokenness that causes people to seek porn. I have done hours and hours of research and read anything I could get my hands on, but this is the book that I have used with my two older boys and it has helped so much!
I just received our copy of" International Firefighter" in the mail today. After gazing at the cover that said "Honoring the Yarnell 19", I flipped to the article. I was so saddened to see the faces of the 19 firefighters that were killed in Arizona this year. It was a terrible year for firefighters. In Oregon, I think we lost around four.
Why am I bringing this up? Firefighting is dangerous. I do not allow myself to think about this part of my husband's job very often. I could drive myself crazy with the thought of him dying in an inferno, but would it do any good? I have been the wife of a firefighter for 18 years, and have learned a few things along the way. I am a person who craves peace. When I am worrying, there is no peace.
Sometimes when I feel afraid, I choose to face my worst fears. When I feel an old or new fear arising, I play a game with myself. I say, "If __________ happened, then God would get me through it". I have even shortened it to "If______, then God."
It has helped me so much. God will carry me. He will provide what I need. I know my husband is a Christian and where he is going if he dies. Would it be terrible? Hard? Scary? Lonely? Sad? Yes.... But I am never alone. My God will not forsake me.
Ladies, if your hubby has a dangerous job, please do not spend your life worrying. Worrying wastes energy and saps your day of its strength. Love the Lord. Trust your loved ones to Him.
I am praying for the families that have lost their loved ones this fire season. I pray God will envelop them with His love and peace today.
When I read this, I couldn't help but think of my own marriage. The seasons that we have been through have been tough. I was so young and selfish (barely 20) when we got married. We fought over everything! Then I started to learn about submission. It took me 15 years to finally figure that one out. I would go from one extreme to the other. I finally learned it started with submission to God's plan and will for my life.
Being the wife of a firefighter and having a large, growing family AND homeschooling them for seven years, meant that I was alone a lot with the kids. I was exhausted. I was grumpy. I was resentful and growing increasingly bitter towards my husband.
Looking back, I see now how I sought to control and change my man. I knew I was supposed to love him the way he was, but I just thought my life would be so much easier if he would just do what I thought was best! Through the help of three amazing women in my life (you know who you are), I received accountability that I so desperately needed. When I would complain, they would patiently listen, but then tell me flat out what I did wrong. They made me think it through after the emotions were not running quite as high. They were for my marriage. They were for Steve and they were for me. I didn't run to people who would bash him. I ran to people who knew the Word of God and would point me to it. I have grown so much because of them. Thank you!!!
Steve and I have entered into a new phase in our marriage. It seems to be based on mutual acceptance of each other's strengths and weaknesses. We don't seem to argue about stupid things anymore. We don't seem to argue much at all. I keep waiting for the other shoe to fall, but I really think this might be a lasting change. If I could put my finger on just one thing, I would say that we both feel SAFE. We can open up our hearts towards each other and know that the information will not be used as ammunition later in a fight. It has not always been this way.
Thank you God, for the work you are doing in my marriage. You are so amazing! You are truly a miracle worker, for you know that our marriage has truly been a miraculous! Thank you for being so good to us. I look to You to continue to make me and mold me into the godly wife you would have me be.
Been a busy summer. I am so enjoying having my children home. I will miss them so much when they go back to school. I plan on helping out quite a bit more in the classroom, if my schedule allows it.
We were able to go visit our favorite pioneer cemetery. Here is Jacob trimming the weeds from the grave of two children who died in the late 1800's.
Here is Miss Lily in her favorite sundress.
Jessica decided to give her brother and sister a makeover! Oh my!!! Didn't know how much eyebrows can really change your look!
Steve with her kids on Father's Day.
We decided to put our house back up on the market. We want to move closer to our school and church. We are waiting to see what God is going to do. An offer has been accepted on a house we liked, but it is contingent on the sale of our home. Anything can happen, we just want to be in God's Will. Please pray for us!
I just found out my 91 year old grandpa has extensive cancer. He doesn't have long to live. Please pray his passing would be as peaceful as possible. He knows where he is going and he is looking forward to seeing his brothers, sisters, wife, and two sons. It is wonderful to grieve, but with hope.
I hope you all have a blessed summer. I think I'm going to take a break from blogging. Don't know how long, the Lord will let me know. Blessings!
I am just one mom that has been affected by pornography. But according to these statistics, I know I am not alone. I am so encouraged to see other people who's lives have been torn apart by this terrible epidemic, speaking out and warning others. This generation and the generations to come are going to be raised in this kind of world. Don't be afraid to face it. Don't think, "my kid would never look at porn". Please, please don't be that naive. Educate yourself so that if you stumble upon something your child has been viewing that is shocking, you will be able to come alongside your child and lead them towards healing and forgiveness.
Wake up CHURCH!!!
(On my sidebar there are several websites that you can turn to for help if you or a loved one is addicted to pornography. Check it out!)
The definition of guilt is a feeling that you have done
something wrong or bad or let someone down, or the state of having broken a
The state of having done a wrong or committed an
offense; culpability, legal or ethical
A painful feeling of self-reproach resulting from a
belief that one has done something wrong or immoral
Conduct that involves guilt; crime; sin
Wikipedia says “Guilt
is an effective state in which one experiences conflict at having done
something that one believes one should not have done (or conversely, having not
done something one believes one should have done). It gives rise to a feeling
which does not go away easily, driven by conscience".
I think women in
general struggle constantly with guilt. I know I do. I wish it would go away.
It tends to suck the joy out of my life. Today I decided to face some things I
feel guilty for. Some are big, some are small, and I feel different levels of
guilt for each one.
-I don’t pray
enough for my family.
-I get angry and
-I am not “quick
to listen and slow to speak”. More often, I am already speaking before my kids
even finish their request.
-I don’t play
enough with my kids.
-I am impatient
and expect perfection (even though I say I don’t).
inconsistent with my discipline and seem to change the “rules” on my kids constantly.
feed my kids processed “convenience” foods. I don’t shop in the organic section
-I can’t serve
in my church as much as I would like to.
-I lack faith in
big and small areas. I wish I didn't get discouraged so quickly.
-I didn't spend
much time in the classroom with my kids last year, even though I said I wanted
-I pick up after
my kids constantly, because I don’t want the fight.
pretend I didn't hear the disrespectful look or tone because I just can’t deal
with it right then.
-I warn and
lecture, warn and lecture because I don’t want to follow through and discipline my kids.
Well, there you
have it! Here is a very honest list. The problem is that many things on this
list are generalized. True guilt is when you have done something specific wrong
and the Holy Spirit reveals it to you.
The enemy, Satan, is the one who throws these kinds of lists of
generalizations in our faces and tries
to get us to feel guilty so that he will discourage us and render us ineffective.
So if I go back
and examine this list again, I will actually find that yes, I fail sometimes. I have a lot to work on. But that’s the key! I am working on some of these
things. There are things that I have to do on this list that are out of my
control, such as not being able to serve in my church or at the kid’s school.
It’s a season and it will change someday. I can’t help it if organic food costs
2/3rds more than regular food. I am doing the best I can do grocery
shopping on a tight food budget.
Let’s go to the
prayer thing. I pray every day for my kids. What is the deal with feeling guilty about that? Is there some kind
of magic number? No! I need to get over this perfectionist type of prayer. It
isn’t godly and no matter how much I pray, God will allow trials to come into
their lives and I have to remember that my children have such a thing called FREE
In truth, I am
working constantly on my anger and impatience with the kids. It is a process and I am better this year than I was last year.
Yes, my faith is
lacking sometimes, but then I look at where I am spiritually today from just a
year and a half ago and I can see that I have had tremendous growth. Refinement happens when you go through some
I was feeling
guilty the other day over something. I was worshipping and felt the Holy Spirit
stir within me. I confessed it immediately, confessed it again before taking
communion (just to be sure God heard me), and I was still feeling guilty during
the message. I kept asking God to take it away. By faith, I knew I was cleansed
by the blood of Jesus, yet that twinge of guilt was still there. I got home and
called my sister. I confessed my sin to her and she was able to counsel me. You
know what she said? “Get over it! Move on!” I guess, I just needed that extra
push because I hadn’t let go of it in my mind yet. I hadn't really accepted God's forgiveness.
What are you
feeling guilty over? Can you relate to anything on this list? Is your guilt
generalized or specific? When you have identified some of these things, confess
it to God! Stop trying to be a perfectionist (like me) and start walking in
Look at the good things you are doing! Are your children fed, clothed, and kissed and hugged? Are you imparting spiritual truths to them as you go about your day? Perfectionists can't see the forest for the trees. Focus and acknowledge the "right" things you do.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."-Phillipians 4:8-9
The only way I can describe how I've been feeling lately is through an entry in my journal.
Lord, help me to remember all I have learned.
"One day at a time."
"Easy Does it."
"I only have control over me."
"I am only responsible for my decisions."
"If God knows about it, then I don't have to worry about it."
I want to remember all You have done. I am so tired and worry, 'but You, O Lord, are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.'
Keep my eyes on the blessings. You are God and You are holy. You have our lives in Your hands. You have this, Lord. You are watching my front and You are also watching my back. Strengthen my heart and help me in my weakness. Help me to not be afraid when disasters and inconveniences happen.
Help me to face my reality again. I am in a season of reconstruction of my family. It takes time.
Keep me away from self-pity. it only leads to discouragement and a lack of joy.
Your refuge and strength will always be mine. I pray for that today. Deliver me from my enemy who is too strong for me.
Psalm 77:19 says "Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock..."
God give me more faith. You are leading me through a raging sea, You are parting the way, one step at a time. I can't see You but your physical footprints are invisible, but the results can only be You. You continue to provide for us in amazing ways.
Lord, in Psalm 78:22, You were angry with Israel for not believing and trusting in Your deliverance. Help me to believe and trust You for ours.
Forgive me, Father, I had taken my eyes off of You and turned them upon my circumstances. Place my eyes back on the One who can deliver us. The One who always has our good in mind. The One who gives me VICTORY! Give me contentment and take away the struggle in my heart. Help me to not surrender to the circumstances, but to surrender to You.
How quickly I sink when I cease to trust You to work everything out for Your glory. I start feeling anxious, worried and I can't seem to stop crying. I felt like I was always on the verge of tears.. My spirit had moved from feeling strong to feeling so fragile that even small incidents sent me over the edge. I became angry, impatient, unkind, selfish and immature. The waves kept rolling over my head and I felt like I could barely catch my breath before another one hit.
I praise You, Father! I felt my self drowning and I didn't like it. I cried out to You, O God, first in my mind (while I was under the water) and then out loud when My heart finally bobbed up for a breath. You reached for me, longing for me to have the faith to walk on the water beside You. The second I started to trust You again, believing that You can do all things, I felt my body, spirit and mind being raised out of the deep waters. And if that was not enough, Jesus, You let me feel the lightness of joy in my feet as I started to walk with You in the water that is ABOVE my circumstances.
My prayers is for You, O Lord, to help me stay there.
I love You and praise Your Holy Name. You are the Great Rescuer. Thank you...
I was reminded once again, just how quickly I can sink.
The kids are always flocking to my parent's camper. Nana has always has something yummy for them to snack on!
This old homesteader's cabin is on the other side of the old road.
One of the barns, you can see the low clouds on the mountains.
An old milk can behind the cabin.
The girls going over the "board" bridge.
These girls never left each other's side. It was precious listening and watching them play. They are such good friends! They were constantly playing in the creek. I would just set up a chair and watch them. It was so relaxing sitting in the sun and vegging out!
Here is the pretty little creek that had all the crawdads in it.
There was this beautiful patch of lupin flowers across the creek.
The old school house won't last much longer. That front part was kind of scary when we peeked in. I loved imagining all the kids learning inside of it. I loved how the windows were strategically placed high, so the students wouldn't be able to look out. Smart! Wish I could have done that when I was homeschooling :)
Jackie and I had fun running around on the four-wheelers taking pictures of the scenery! Here she is taking another pictures. She is truly a gifted photography. Here is her blog if you are interested.
"Show me your way , oh Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long." -Psalm 25:4-5 My Mission for this BLOG is to bring glory to God as I share what He is teaching me as I raise my children for Him. I want to encourage mothers all around the world to hang in there! Motherhood is tough, challenging and gritty. But through Christ's strength and the support of other moms who are in the trenches, I will keep pressing towards the goal to raise Godly children. Please feel free to leave comments. It blesses me so much! You can also email me at email@example.com
I am a Stay-At-Home mother of six children. We LOVE having a large family. My first love, is Christ and the Words of the Bible. My passion is to teach my children about the Lord. I love to watch my children discover their own faith in God. My husband has been a firefighter for over 20 years and is now an officer. I am very proud of him. I long to be a Titus 2 woman who encourages other women to love their husbands and children and to thrive in their homes, not just survive.
The noblest calling in the world is that of a mother. True motherhood is the most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions. She who can paint a masterpiece or who can write a book that will influence millions deserves the plaudits and admiration of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters whose immortal souls will be exerting an influence throughout the ages long after paintings shall have faded, and books and statues shall have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give. -David O. McKay Motherhood is the one thing in all the world which most truly exemplifies the God-given virtues of creating and sacrficing. Though it carries the woman close to the brink of death, motherhood also leads her into the very realm of the fountians of life and makes her co-partner with the Creator in bestowing upon eternal spirits mortal life. -David O McKay We can't form our children on our own concepts; we must take them and love them as God gives them to us. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward. -Psalm 127:3 The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom -Henry Ward Beecher The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children. -Elaine Heffner People who say they sleep like babies usually don't have them. -Leo J. Burke
To be a mother is a woman's greatest vocation in life. She is a partner with God. No being has a position of such power and influence. She holds in her hands the destiny of nations, for to her comes the responsibility and opportunity of molding the nation's citizens. -Spencer W. Kimball