Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's Love Got To Do With It?

In the years following my divorce and remarriage, I’ve developed a soft spot in my heart for the family unit and a strongly-held conviction that the family needs to be restored to what God intended it to be. So, while I'm on a roll with my deep thinkin', here's what I've been  pondering today regarding family.

I have three teenagers. Each of them has, at one time or another, had a girl friend or boy friend (someone with whom they are “going out,” even though none of them can officially date yet). With our kids pairing off at such young ages, I find myself deeply concerned, and up until now, I’ve not really known what to do about it.

On the one hand, I feel like these “puppy love” relationships are harmless. They are never left alone and unsupervised. On the other, I fear that this kind of relationship sets them up for hardened hearts later on (from break-ups and heartaches experienced before marriage) and a likelihood that they’ll one day look at marriage from the perspective “this probably won’t last either.” Not to mention the fact that teenage relationships like this might very well complicate hormonal issues that are hard enough to deal with when the opposite sex isn’t yet a factor.

A little radical, you think?  Maybe. But when you consider the ever prevalent moral decline of our society...maybe not.

Will a relationship that begins at 13, 14, or 15 really last a lifetime in our day and age? 

We’ve allowed something that God intended to be beautiful and loving to become perverted to the point that the ideology of a “first and only” love relationship is practically foreign to this generation. With American culture being what it is, our kids don’t really have a chance to experience “true love” the way our parents and grandparents did. They may catch a glimmer of it, but with the sex-saturated nature of our culture, by the time a kid is marrying age, they already know everything there is to know about the opposite sex.  They've had plenty of practice with plenty of partners. We need to change that. We need to start teaching our kids, in no uncertain terms and on a daily basis, that love, sex, and marriage are God-given, beautiful blessings to be enjoyed and treasured, and that what the world teaches them about it is fundamentally wrong.

Without some radical changes taking place at home, traditional marriage will surely become obsolete. To a great degree, it already has. I believe the turn-around starts with us, as parents, setting standards for our children that are higher than those of the world. We have to get radical in our child-rearing. We have to stop worrying about whether our kids like us or not and start doing what is necessary to change their future. We have to stop compromising.

We need to take our families back!


Monday, September 21, 2009


Isaiah 30:21: Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

I had an epiphany this morning. I'll get to that in a minute, but first, a little background.

Ten years ago, God led me to the job at which I work now. I know it was God leading me because at the time, I had no skills to speak of, and, had this job not just fallen into my lap the way it did, I never would have dreamed of applying for such a position. I’m not trying to beat myself up, but I knew  that I was highly under qualified. Nevertheless, in His usual, amazing way, God gave me the opportunity right out of nowhere – and I didn’t even ask for it! He led me through all my fear and insecurity to get me to a point where I could earn a decent living (it still baffles me to this day!). Then, when interest in my job began to wane, He led me through several years of selfish and unrealistic goals that I'd set for myself, and showed me ever so gently how desperately I need His guidance. He showed me what’s really important in life. He was always there with me and for most of that time, I didn’t even realize it.

I’ve been unsatisfied and discontented at my job for so long now, I find myself continually looking for something better. I went back to college for a while, thinking I wanted to become a paralegal, and ultimately, a lawyer (a dream I'd had since jr. high school). I really felt driven to "be" somebody. I became discouraged with school, though, because it wasn’t progressing as quickly as I wanted, and I was losing interest. Not to mention the issues at home…parenting four kids, being a wife, and full-time employee just didn’t mesh well with going to class until 10:00 at night. I just couldn't seem to make it work.

Somewhere in the midst of paralegal classes, I decided that I might give nursing a try. So, reminiscent of my earlier college days when I was fresh out of high school, I switched gears mid-stream and started taking nursing courses. Let’s just say that biology is not my “thang.” Neither is blood. Or any other bodily fluid. What was I thinking??

I’ve spent years making foolish decisions like this because I didn’t bother to seek guidance from God. I never prayed about any of these brilliant notions. I just followed what I thought at the time were good instincts. Or, in the case of becoming a lawyer, I thought I was following my heart.

More recently, I’ve been thinking of taking online courses in web design. It’s something I’m interested in and it would allow me to be creative – something my current job totally lacks. If I have to work, I figured I should at least enjoy what I'm doing. But when I thought of the extra expense we’d be taking on for another endeavor like that, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Not with my track record. This time, I prayed. And I chalked that bad feeling up to the Lord’s leading me in another direction. I didn’t need to go that route again.

So, this morning, I got to thinking. I began to look at what has remained constant in my life since I started working ten years ago – my marriage, my family, my job, and the desire to homeschool.  I’ve wanted to homeschool my kids for about two and a half years now, with no real deviation from that desire. I’d try to suppress it from time to time, wondering if that, too, wasn’t just another crazy idea I’d concocted out of discontentment with my job. The desire would always come back, though. And usually stronger than before.

Sounds like continuity to me. Maybe this is what I should focus on.

Instead of going deeper into debt for more education (that I may or may not even finish - again), I should redirect my focus on getting out of debt so that I can homeschool!  It's so clear to me now!! I was blessed with a great job. One that I would never have landed in my own efforts. I need to use those God-given provisions to pay off the debt that is hindering me from making homeschool a reality. I’ve had the resources to make it happen all this time, but I’ve failed to see God’s wonderful provision through all my doubt and discouragement.

Thank you God, for showing me the way! You truly are the Great Provider!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Can I Get A Witness?

The last few days have been difficult for me. I'm waiting for some tests to come back from my trip to the doctor Tuesday afternoon.  I've been feeling some awful strong emotions and crying at the drop of a hat. I've always been a crier, but this is different. It comes in waves. Or whenever I think of my kids. Or whenever someone talks to me, is nice to me, is mean to me, or looks at me the wrong way. 

Sounds hormonal to me.

On a different note, I've often wondered what it feels like to know that you are called to work for the Lord.  Of course, I feel like we're all called to do the work of the Lord in some capacity, but I'm talking about seriously dedicating your life to that purpose - like starting a ministry.  What does that feel like?  Does everything in your life just glow with divine radiance once you come to that revelation?  Or do things get more difficult and require more from you - more spiritually, emotionally, and physically - before you actually get to the point of living out that calling?

Just wondering.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Family

I thought I'd post some photos of my family.

Here's me and my husband during a trip to Stone Mountain, Georgia, last year. He got sick from the BBQ from this restaurant...despite that, my getting mad at him later on that day, and the fact that it rained {buckets} most of the weekend, it was a nice trip. Really. It was!

And here we are at the beach. From left: Logan, Sean, Janie (in front), Me, Jess, and Michael in back. I love this picture, even though I thought someone might die before we actually took it. Everyone was hungry, mom was irritable, and no one wanted to cooperate. We had a great dinner at Captain Anderson's afterward, so we got over the trauma pretty quick.
It's never been easy to get my family together for a photo. Sometimes the memories surrounding our pictures aren't very pleasant, but that's ok. I love 'em just the same.


Change of Plans

So, we didn't quite make it to the beach. Long story, but here's the skinny:

My son, Logan, got sick the day we were going to leave and out of fear that he may have the flu crud that's going around, we debated over whether it was a good idea to leave town or not.

In the midst of trying to decide, I received a rather unusual call from a very dear friend of mine. Suffice it to say that after that call, I was sure that we should not go to the beach after all. My friend is going through a tough time right now and I pray that she's on the road to recovery. That's all I'll say about that.

Logan got better, thanks to the wonderful people who make Tamiflu, but my older son, Sean, became puny Sunday morning. He wasn't so fortunate. He was diagnosed with the flu on Tuesday of last week. He's better now, thank the Lord, but for a while there, he was pretty miserable. His only symptoms were sore throat, fever, and chills. No body aches, no cough (in the beginning). I just knew it was strep throat and not the flu. Go figure.

And here we are a week later. I keep expecting to come down with it myself. Or someone else in the family. We'll see. I pray that we don't. It's nasty stuff.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Road Trip

The Labor Day weekend is approaching and you know what that means...three-day weekend! Yes, for the working girl, a three-day weekend is big. Especially when there's no more vacation time left to take.

So, we're loading up and heading to the beach. This time, my 13-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter will be the only ones going with us. For some reason, the kids have quite a bad taste in their mouth for the beach. So much so that the older two chose to pick up trash in our community (youth project at church) rather than be subject to the 72 hour misery that is a family trip to the beach. I suppose that if we were staying in a condo, they'd change their tune a bit, but we will be staying in the travel trailer we bought a couple of years ago. We thought it might bring us closer as a family. Apparently, it's a little too close for comfort for the sophisticated tastes of our 15-year-olds. It must cramp their style somewhat to be seen in such close proximity to their parents.

Do people still say that something cramps their style? That probably went out with Fonzie.

Or maybe we're just boring.

We took the boys and our younger daughter down in June (our other daughter was with her mother...yours, mine, and ours) and it appeared to me that they were trying to have a bad time. We thought they'd love going to the water park, so we dropped a pretty penny and spent a whole day there. All the boys wanted to do was sit around in lounge chairs and complain that it was too hot. One of them did enjoy the wave pool once, and I forced them both to grab an innertube and float down the lazy river. Who doesn't like the lazy river, for crying out loud? When I was a kid, I'd have been thrilled to pieces to go to the water park.

I don't think we're all that boring. I think kids are just different now. Too many video games. Too much television. It really isn't their fault. It's ours.

In any event, we're going to the beach, leaving two behind. It makes me sad. They're staying behind for a good cause, though. I'm proud of them. I think they're wonderful.