It's been a whole week since I've posted last, and a lot has happened in my mind and heart as well as life in general, so prepare for a little random rumbling. :)
God is just so good. His Word is so rich. Every morning it feels like He showers me with new manna from the Word. Delights my soul with new insights. His ways are so much better than ours. I was reading in Psalm 106 and 107 yesterday morning. These Psalms recount a lot of Old Testament history with the Israelites and how they would follow God, then follow their own desires, and back and forth again and again. Every time they would follow the counsel of God, they were satisfied and free. But every time they "despised the counsel of God", they had leanness of the soul and were discontent and oppressed by their enemies. Isn't it the same with us? Even as Christians we can despise the counsel of God and follow the counsel of the world in seemingly innocent ways. But whenever we do that, we are choosing to miss out on the very best. "The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart." -Psalm 19:8. "Do not desire the king's delicacies, for they are deceptive food." -Proverbs 23:3. How deceptive the world's delicacies can be! "Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom and instruction and understanding." -Proverbs 23:23. "For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness." -Psalm 107:9 "Happy is the man who finds wisdom. . . Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." -Proverbs 3:13,17 I've been privileged at times to engage with friends I would call true prophets, who speak life-giving words into my heart that are straight from the Word of God. I've asked God to make me one of those people. I want to have just the right word for someone when they come to me, to send them away with some truth from God's Word. I think what He has been showing me is that I can be that person if I continue to make His Word my treasure and meditate in it day and night. Then I will have the right words because they will come from Him. I was listening to Beth Moore and she was talking about God's instructions to Joshua before he led the people into the Promised Land. The secret to his success? "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do all that is written in it. For THEN you shall make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." -Joshua 1:8.
I'm always hesitant to talk much about the convictions God has laid on our hearts concerning our children through His Word, because I don't want to sound like I'm preaching or condemning what some other parents may choose to do differently. I'm afraid you may think it sounds too idealistic or "extreme". But if you think about it, it's what I'm doing right now- raising children. If I were going to school to be a doctor, you would expect me to be giving it my best. If I were an artist, I wouldn't sound idealistic if I just wanted to make something awesome. So why do we treat the art of raising children any differently? Shouldn't we put our whole hearts and souls into it? After all, they are eternal beings. Raising kids is a pretty big deal. Of course I want to do it the best I can, with all the wisdom and power and insight I can get from the Lord. There are times when the counsel of the world tempts me, and I think, what would be wrong with a little TV every day? or maybe we should have them involved in this activity or that activity, so and so is doing it and it's not "bad" or shouldn't I just let Allie read that book? All the other girls her age are reading it. I'm sure it's not completely evil or we should just take a break from all this healthy eating. What's the matter with giving them Pop Tarts for breakfast and letting them heat up their own TV dinner tonight? Do I really have to keep chopping these vegetables? Do I have to insist that they get up early? That they respect me? Don't all kids talk back to their parents? Surely, parenting is so daily. And constant. And unrelenting. It's every moment. But it's my calling. I don't want to do it haphazardly or without forethought and intention. It's such a refreshment when I meet another Christian momma who is in this with me. My precious friend Maleah and I had a conversation the other day about the TV. I was telling her about some of the many positive changes I've witnessed in my children since we turned it off. She encouraged me by telling me about a family she met years ago. They had nine children. The oldest daughters so impressed my friend with their purity and maturity and wisdom that she asked the mother what the secret was to producing kids like that. The mother had to think for a few minutes, but she came back and said that she thought it was the decision to not have TV. As a result, her children were not distracted, but able to learn their school lessons well, they had closer relationships, and they spent more time outside and being creative. Each of those daughters graduated with honors and went on to prestigious colleges. I was so encouraged. God just keeps impressing on my heart that I am the Momma, not their friend. It's my job to listen to His voice and do what He says, even if it seems extreme or like I'm sheltering them in some unfair way. His ways are higher and better and altogether different from our ways. Of course they look different from the rest of the world.
Okay enough about all that. :) I'll share some pictures from the last week. :) Thursday we got LOTS of SNOW!!!
Allie and I have been intrigued by this abandoned old dilapidated house on the property next to ours, and we took the snow day as an opportunity to explore it. We were so inspired! I think she will write a story about it. I could see the creative juices flowing in her face. :)
My precious mother in law Naomi braved the weather to come stay with us for a few days. It was supposed to be a "sewing boot camp" for the girls and me, but Sam had other ideas for how I should use my time. Allie was able to take some old clothes and fashion them into new ones. She is so creative. I didn't learn much about sewing, but Naomi sewed the girls some lovely matching skirts and turned this old sheet that I LOVED into curtains for my classroom :)
By Sunday, of course, all the snow had melted and the temperatures were in the 60's again. Alabama in January. :)
I added to my reading list :) a wonderful book called The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer. Mommas, this is such an inspiring book. Written in 1971 by the wife of the late Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer. The chapter about Interior Decorating challenged and inspired me. I have always felt like a "fail" in that department. I don't usually like what I find in the stores. I want something with a story behind it, something handmade or eccentric or colorful. Thus, I have no "color themes" flowing through my house. It's very eclectic. But I renewed my appreciation for the areas of my house that I love because they speak to my soul. And you can't replace that with something from Pottery Barn or Antropologie. I especially love my kitchen window:
The tie-dyed bathroom towel I dyed myself, and handmade cotton hand towel Brian bought me for my birthday:
The aprons in my kitchen make me think of industry and inspire me to be like the Proverbs 31 woman:
This quilt in my living room is bright and beautiful and handmade by my late grandmother Mary Nell Pearson. There's another one on the wall handmade by her mother, Ola Mae Stewart, and I've got to find a place for another one handmade by my grandmother's mother in law and given to her as a wedding present over 60 years ago.
At any time that you come to my house, it's likely to be in some sort of disarray. You might see crayons all over the floor in the classroom, dirty laundry waiting to be washed in the laundry room, dirty dishes covering the sink. You might see all three at the same time. :) I've come to realize that's a necessary evil of having five children at home all the time. We actually live our lives here. But I'm glad that in the midst of the messes, there are places of inspiration and beauty and creativity.