A Proverbs 31 Mother?

Very recently a sweet, loving friend of mine posted a question about something and it really brought something to mind that we don’t really talk about enough.  Self-respect.

As Christians we are called to not conform to this world, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.“-Romans 12:2.  We are also reminded to “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”-Proverbs 22:6.  So what exactly does this mean to a Christian parent?  How are we supposed to LIVE this?

I struggled with this too.  I grew up very much IN and OF the world.  I couldn’t wear a small enough bikini or short enough shorts.  Oh and the attention I got from it?  LOVED it.  Loved it so much that it became the only thing I craved.  If I wasn’t getting stared at or chased after then, well, I simply had NO value!  I knew how to talk, how to act, and how to dress to maximize the attention I got and I prided myself on being able to attract and get any boy/man I wanted to.  I was 12 when I began recognizing my ability to use my body, my sexuality, as an asset.  Let me not forget to add that I didn’t come from a Christian family.  I came from a mother who was married 7 times in her life and is still, to this day, a drug addict and an alcoholic.  My biological father was also a drug addict and alcoholic and had a very small part in my life, mostly not by my choice.  The values that I NEEDED were not taught to me either by word or example.  This is not to gain your pity but to lay a foundation.  Because of all of these factors I didn’t know any better and the enemy dug his heels in very early with me.  As a result I was a promiscuous teenager, had a daughter when I was 20, and was unfaithful in my first and second marriage.

Even as my own daughter grew up and began developing into a beautiful young woman I said on several occasions, “well if she has the body for it why not let her wear it?”  I actually cringed as I was writing that.  I had no idea what it meant to have self-respect, self-worth, or value if it didn’t depend on my looks and my body so why would I teach my own daughter any different?  I praise God every day that He made her so very much like me but also so very ,much UNlike me.  For years she was raised watching the movies she had no business watching at an age that was inappropriate.  She was encouraged to fit in.  I tried to buy her clothes that flattered her body.  I was a much different person then and I really had no clue to the potential damage I was doing to myself and to my own child.

I am so blessed to say that my incredibly talented and beautiful daughter is now 21 years old and she is not anything like I was.  She has much more self-respect and value than I ever did at her age.  She has accomplished more in 21 years than I could have and despite my ignorance she turned out pretty darn good.  Thanks, Jesus!

As I grew older I also grew closer to God.  By the time I was 30 I was “spiritual” but not “religious”.  After Erick and I had been together for a few years and he had shoved this FAITH thing down my throat I began to develop more of a relationship with my Creator.  After 10 years of marriage he finally talked me into going to church and the rest is history.  I gave my life to Christ and I was saved on September 27, 2013.  My eyes were opened.  I began to understand so many things that I never did before.

I also now had another young daughter to raise up and some decisions to make.  Who did I want her to be?  What kind of man did I hope she would marry?  How did I want her to look at herself in the mirror?  What kind of mother did I want her to be?  What would I have told myself to do or not do if I could go back in time?  I had to decide.

I chose God.  I chose what He wanted me to do.  I read the Bible, cover to cover several times, and I prayed.  His answers to me were, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”-Proverbs 31:30, and, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.“-Psalm 139:14.  I wanted my daughter to be, “clothed with strength and dignity,and she laughs without fear of the future.“-Proverbs 31:25.  And if I wanted her to be that way and to have an abundance of self-respect, value, and dignity I needed to be the example.  I can’t just tell her and teach her, I need to SHOW her.  To not would be hypocrisy.

When I was 30 years old I got my first tattoo.  I also used to have my nose pierced and the truth is that I loved it.  I now have 3 tattoos.  Is it sinful for me to have a nose piercing?  No.  It is sinful for me to have tattoos?  No, it’s not.  In the Bible, in Revelation 19:16 we are told, “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.”  That’s a tattoo.  Sorry.  Are mine tasteful?  Yes.  Are they in sexually explicit areas of my body?  No.  Do I regret them even though I got them before I knew Christ?  Absolutely not.  I was 30, not 13.

Would I want my daughter to get a nose piercing or a tattoo?  Honestly it depends.  It depends on her age (in our house the standing rule is 18 and not under my roof).  I have heard people say, “well then that just encourages her to go and do it behind your back.”  Does it?  If I live the example for my child, if I teach her and raise her in the ways of the Lord, if I guide her gently and shelter her from the vulgarity of this world, does it really mean that?  I’m blessed to say that it doesn’t.  My oldest daughter rebelled but after reading about who her mother was back then can you blame her?  I can’t.  Does my younger daughter have any reason to rebel?  I honestly don’t believe so.  She is being raised in the ways of the Lord and being taught self-respect and self-worth at a very early age.  She SEES it in her mother and in her father.  She sees it in the girls she goes to church with and the women her mother interacts with.  It is being lived out in front of her.

Now we still have our struggles with things.  She wants to dye her hair and she wants these clothes or to wear makeup.  Why?  Because she sees her friends doing it (well she did when she was in public school anyway).  Since taking her out of public school she has stopped trying to “fit in” and it has become less of a desire for her.  She’s only 9, what do I have to look forward to?  A lot of PRAYING.  I trust with all my heart that if I live the life as a mother that I hope she will live as a young woman in this world, if I BE the EXAMPLE in everything I do, and I do mean EVERYTHING I have no reason to fear her rebellion.  She is learning to see herself as only her God can see her.  She values her heart, her nature, her love, her ability to be genuine and not her waist size, hair color, or beauty.

I know that my children are a direct reflection of me, just as I am called to be a reflection of Jesus Christ.  If I want to know how I am doing as a parent, where I need to improve, and what I need to work on, all I need to do is look at my children.  I need to see what they value, how they treat others, how they talk about themselves to themselves, etc.  99% of the time if they are not showing me what I WANT to see, I have to look at myself to see how I have modeled that for them and change it.

Our children, and especially our daughters, are being exposed to sexuality younger and younger.  Bra commercials used to be so plain and only used mannequins and now we are violated with insanely skinny and unrealistically beautiful half-naked super models.  And we see how men stare and drool over them.  That shapes our daughters view of themselves.  How we talk about ourselves, “I’m too fat”, “my butts too big”, well they are shaped by that too.

Up until this situation arose today I didn’t think twice about my youngest wearing a 2 piece bathing suit.  She’s built-in a way that a one piece doesn’t really “fit” her correctly and I have always stood by that excuse but the truth really is, and my friends statement today really convicted me on this, that she really doesn’t like showing her belly and wants to wear a one piece bathing suit.  She WANTS to be modest and I haven’t let her do that simply because it didn’t “look right”.  The enemy will wiggle his way in there any way he can.

Our God created us perfectly the way He wanted us. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”-Psalm 139:13.  I challenge mom’s everywhere to not just tell your children, but SHOW your children.  Don’t let them be led by the world.  Don’t force them to turn to their friends for that guidance and example.  Be the woman God has called you to be, the mother God has called you to be, and be that example that she wants to live up to and someday teach her daughter to be.

I can see this becoming a series……GOD BLESS

Living Right-Side-Up

I was struck by a statement that I read by the great Billy Graham a few months ago. “To an upside-down person, a right-side up person seems upside down.  To a sinner, a righteous person is an oddity and an abnormality.  A Christian’s goodness is a rebuke to the wicked; his being right-side up is a reflection upon the worldling’s inverted position.”

Over the last few weeks the Lord really impressed this upon my heart to address in detail.  I could remember the content of the statement but not the exactness or the author of it.  Yesterday I began an exhaustive search of the books I have read recently.  Kyle Idleman, Max Lucado, R.T. Kendall, no luck.  Finally I remembered Google!  I typed in what I could remember and was instantly transported to Billy Graham’s website!  Praise the Lord He led me there because I was getting worn out.  When I re-read the words I was taken aback once more at how amazingly true they were.

We are told by Jesus that, “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.“-Matthew 10:22.  And we are.  Our mere presence in this world, in this upside-down world where it’s inhumane to cause a convicted murderer pain in death but it’s perfectly o.k. to murder an unborn baby, we stand out.  Christians stand out like a sore thumb among the lewdness, sin, and hatred in this world.  Yet it is not we who are upside-down.  To us who are fighting to stand and live right-side up and swim against the current we can see it for what it really is.  We have chosen to follow Christ, to live righteously (or at least try to) and walk right-side up when the rest of the world is upside-down.

I wasn’t raised in church.  My mother very well might have burst into flames had she ever crossed the threshold of a church (I don’t mean that…..yeah I kinda do).  The only time I was subjected (or forced is what I called it when I was younger) to church were the few times I would visit with and stay with my Father.  I hated church.  Church was the reason I couldn’t sleep in on the weekend.  It was uncomfortable and the people were WEIRD!  They would stand up and talk in weird languages and it was just CREEPY to me.  These people were weird and I was normal.  They were upside-down to me.  My husband, on the other hand, was raised in church.  He was familiar with all of the things I was unsure of.  Most of my friends now, my church family, were also raised in church.  I spent 40 years searching for and almost finding my faith all on my own but I was also very deeply rooted in this world.  My feet were planted, I was right-side up and all of those people, the ones who stood on street corners preaching the word of God, the ones who wouldn’t allow their kids to play with mine, they were all the upside-down ones.  The enemy was really successful at convincing me of that.

I spent an entire lifetime walking and living in this world seeing things backwards and it wasn’t until I started going to church that I realized how wrong I was.  God changed my heart.  I don’t mean that I wanted to be “more Christian”, I mean HE CHANGED ME.  I surrendered my life to Him and he moved in me in a very BIG way.  He flipped me RIGHT-side up very early into my walk with Him and my head was spinning.  All of a sudden I couldn’t listen to Metallica, Korn, or Megadeth anymore.  It hurt me.  It was actually physically painful for me.  The morning radio show I used to listen to offended me in ways that I cannot even repeat. God convicted me very early on in my journey and yanked me out of this world and stood me upright and everything that I used to enjoy had become like sandpaper to my soul.

I tried watching the movies that I used to love (I prided myself on being a horror movie buff) and I couldn’t.  Again, it hurt.  When I chose to follow God I had no idea that I was choosing THIS!  I had known so many Christians who went to church but still listened to heavy metal and still watched rated r movies and still lived “normal” lives!  Why was this happening to ME?!  Why couldn’t I be like THAT?  God had a plan for me.  He was only waiting, biding His time, until I uttered those words, “CHANGE ME.”  In turning me right-side up he turned my entire world upside-down.  I was completely unprepared for that.

He lifted a veil from my eyes that allowed me to see how the enemy works in this world.  Now, I’m not one of those freaky Christian’s in the movies where the devil is in Vickie Vallencourt (nod to The Waterboy-again from a previous life).  I am not like that but I am able to see, quite clearly, the lies and manipulations and trickery of the old dog himself.  I can look back over my life and my “debates” with people who claimed to be Christian’s and I am amazed they didn’t just laugh me right out of the room.  The ignorance I spouted as truth is truly laughable.  I claimed to know the Bible when I had never read it and I would use arguments, get this, like, “if Cain and Abel were Adam and Eve’s only sons at the time why, when Cain was banished from the Garden of Eden, did he come across a city of people called Caananites?”  Yep, I actually said that.  Like I said, I hadn’t been raised in a Christian home so I really had no idea what I was talking about.  Every ounce of ignorance that came from my unholy lips was fed to me by the lord of this world.  I was square in the palm of his hand and blind to how upside-down I really was.

2.5 years into my walk with Jesus I am appalled at the life I used to live.  I can’t even come close to that person anymore because I can feel the darkness she carried within her.  My Lord and my God have delivered me and I am so very thankful, yet so very sad.  When God turns you right-side up after living most of your life upside-down, there are casualties.  I have had to choose to end a relationship with my biological mother because it was too poisonous and painful for myself and my children.  I have, in fact, lost relationships with that entire side of my family.  My husband has also lost relationships with the majority of his family for the exact same reasons.  We have both also lost friends along the way.  It wasn’t that we CHOSE to end these relationships, it was that we couldn’t choose to NOT end them.  In return God increased our church family exponentially!  Both Erick and I have been blessed to be surrounded by the most amazingly positive, uplifting, encouraging, unconditionally loving people we have ever known.  Jesus said, “I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property–along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.”-Mark 10:29-30.  He is true to His word.

You are not called to be like the world, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.“-Romans 12:2.  We are called to stand out and I can promise you that living right-side up causes us to stand out.  We are right-side up in Christ, not upside-down as the world would have us believe.  Our mere right-side upness (is that a word?) is offensive to the world and causes deep conviction in those we encounter who are still upside-down.  “…And everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.“-2 Timothy 3:12.  You will be persecuted for living and walking right-side up, you can count on it.  Just like I was convicted in my youth by anyone who professed to be a Christian, the world will also be convicted and seek to “right” us (turn us back upside-down).  Stand strong, putting on the whole armor of God and fight the battle to remain upright for Christ

God bless

 

Spiritual Warfare

Throughout my life I have had these “experiences” that were terrifying. Once in my mid twenties and again just 2 years ago.  In between those 2 big experiences was a spattering of several other ones that weren’t as obvious and intense.  I had only told 2 people in my life about those experiences:  My husband, Erick, and my oldest daughter, Peyton.

Then, a few months ago, my husband was reading a book that my Mama had given him.  He came home from work one day and handed me the book and said, “Read the beginning of Chapter 9.”  The book was called, The Invisible War, by Chip Ingram.  Here is what I read:

“The first time it happened, I was lying in bed, half awake and half asleep.  It started out like a bad dream, but suddenly there was a foreboding evil presence in the room.  There was intense pressure on my chest that felt like a 500 pound weight crushing me and a tightness around my neck that completely closed my windpipe.  I was paralyzed; I couldn’t move any part of my body except my eyes.  I was desperate for air like someone under water who can’t get to the surface fast enough.  My thoughts were racing:  “Oh, God, help me, help me, Jesus, help….”  I could see my wife asleep next to me, and I just kept praying and praying, clueless as to what was going on and wondering how in the world someone could suffocate in his own bed.  And then the pressure suddenly left.  I gasped for air, I could move again, and I sat up in bed, coughing, my body as soaked with perspiration as if I had played basketball for two hours.  The hair on the back of my neck was sticking straight up, and there was a sense of manifest evil in the room that I had never felt in my life.  I was scared to death.  It was hostile, demonic activity, and this experience was repeated many, many times over the next few years.”

I put the book down after reading these words and looked at my husband with tears in my eyes.  Chip Ingram had just described the 2 big attacks I had experienced.  Although mine were a little different, it was the same thing and I knew it.  I had always felt like I was crazy and that these 2 experiences were actually heart attacks or something.  They were very vivid in my mind.  2 of the most vivid memories I have ever had.  Here is how mine went, both times.

I was asleep in bed, but at the point where I was kinda fading in and out.  I was awakened by a sense of tremendous pressure on my chest.  I always described it as feeling like someone was sitting on my chest.  I could breathe but only very shallow.  I was terrified immediately.  I didn’t know why but I knew, from somewhere, that what was going on was demonic and I was frozen with fear and paralyzed.  I could have opened my eyes I think but I was too scared of what I would see if I did!  I knew I needed to pray.  My first attack happened before I was saved, before I went to church, before I was a true follower of Christ, I still knew on a deep spiritual level that I NEEDED TO PRAY!  At first my prayers were in my mind and I was gradually able to start moving my lips and whispering them and then gradually able to SPEAK them.  Eventually the pressure would lift off my chest and I would no longer be paralyzed and I would keep my eyes closed and roll over onto my side and go back to sleep. 

These were incredibly intense and frightening experiences.  I was scarred by them to a great degree because I always make an effort to NOT sleep on my back anymore.  If I wake up and I’m on my back I immediately turn over.  As if that would stop it from happening, who knows.  Although I didn’t really KNOW how these were spiritual attacks I knew that they WERE spiritual attacks but I couldn’t tell anyone else that.  I would be laughed at.  So I only shared it with 2 people and went on with my life……until the day Erick handed me this book.  It shook me to my core and changed my whole outlook on the experience I had been through and revealed all of the other experiences I was having.  I had been attacked by demonic forces and I was not crazy.  Finally someone validated everything I had thought about these incidences.

The other, less intense, experiences happen quite often.  I had a major one last night as a matter of fact.  I normally have either my husband or one of my kids in bed with me so when I turn off the lights and walk around to my bed to get in for the night, they are there.  Last night they weren’t.  As I turned off the light and walked around my bed to my side I noticed each step I took I grew more and more terrified and I could feel a darkness around me.  It was that really incredible feeling that you are being watched multiplied by 100!  It was as if I wasn’t just being watched but whatever was watching me was breathing down my neck.  The room got darker with every step, my heart beat faster with every step, and my breathing grew shallower with every step.  Something was there.  I crawled in bed and began to pray.  Out loud…..very loudly.  After about 6 or 7 minutes I could feel the presence lift form the room and my fear fade.  I could look around the room and saw no shadows or darkness and felt no evil.  Praise God.

The Bible tells us that, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Ephesians 6:12.  We are fighting an invisible war here on earth and it is invisible because we are battling against Satan and his demonic forces.  Chip Ingram says that there are 5 primary reasons Satan attacks us.

1.) When we’re taking significant steps of faith for spiritual growth.
2.) When we’re invading enemy territory (getting involved in evangelism by sharing our faith in some way).
3.) When we’re exposing Satan for who he really is.
4.) When we repent and make a clean break with the world (a long held pattern of sin or an unholy relationship).
5.) When God is preparing us individually or corporately for a great work for His glory.

My first attack happened during my 2nd marriage and during a time I was learning about God.  I had prayed earnestly to see the face of Jesus and I was shown the face of Jesus not long before the attack had occurred. I wasn’t raised in church.  Not even close to church in fact.  I was learning on my own though and starting a journey that would lead me to where I am now.  I saw the face of the risen Christ behind closed eyes.  I knew Him.  I recognized Him.  It was so amazing and so beautiful and I have never forgotten it.  So basically the first attack happened when I was taking steps of faith for spiritual growth.

The second attack happened around a time that we were attending church but had really just begun our walk with Christ.  It was around the time I had finally been able to forgive my mother.  So I was, again, taking steps of faith for spiritual growth.

The other attacks that were not as subjective as these 2 have all happened around times where I was getting involved in evangelism (I teach the 1st and 2nd grade girls club at my church on Wednesdays), exposing Satan for who he really is (by experiencing an addiction in my family that I had no clue was present), and when I was making a clean break with a long held pattern in my life.  The one last night happened after 2 days of everything on earth going wrong.  I can’t even begin to list it all out but suffice it to say that no human being should ever have to experience what my family did in only 2 days.  It was like hell on earth for us.  Things like this happen when God has a blessing in store for us so I knew that He was preparing us individually for a great work for His glory and that is why I was attacked.

I always said I didn’t want to be that lady.  The one in movies that thought Satan was everywhere and was paranoid about it.  Now I’m that lady.  Not in a fearful or paranoid way but I am keenly aware of how tricky, sly, manipulative, and convincing he is and can be.  I know how he can use even the silliest, most innocent thing, to infect our children, our spouses, and our church.  And because we live here in this world that is ruled by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4) we are ALWAYS under attack in some way.

If you haven’t read, The Invisible War by Chip Ingram, you should.  It will open your eyes.  So many Christians today don’t want to know the truth about the enemy and his forces.  They want pretty Christianity.  False Christianity.  It’s not pretty what we face but we can rest assured that JESUS ALREADY WON this battle and we need to fight FROM victory, not FOR victory!

If you have had a similar experience I would love to hear about it.  Feel free to post it below in the comments.  May God bless you in great abundance!

Test or Temptation? Now I Know.

I am a very faithful woman.  It takes a lot, if anything, to shake me.  But for the last 9 months I have been shaken to my foundation and I am simply exhausted.  It has come down to this question:  Is it God refining me or the enemy attacking me?  I ask because my response is completely dependent upon which of these 2 it really is!  Let’s take it form the beginning.

Back in April of 2013 Erick was transferred to 3rd shift at work.  This meant a pay increase and a change in hours and days.  In May of 2013 his employer changed their entire HR/Payroll computer system and implemented this new software program.  As soon as they made that change his paychecks were messed up.  No shift differential some weeks.  No overtime pay other weeks.  Sometimes he was paid for more hours than he worked on regular time and fewer hours than he worked for overtime.  It was like this every 2 weeks when we got his paychecks, for MONTHS.  In October 2013 he was asked to transfer to yet another brand-new shift, 4th shift.  We were starting to really cut into our grocery budget and Ramen noodles were a regular part of lunch and dinner.  I mean it was really tight.  We had never had such a miniscule grocery budget.  We were living off of $100 every 2 weeks for 5 people.  Not easy.

4th shift came with a completely different shift differential and totally different hours and it was packed with more complications for the payroll software.  The very next month we moved into our new home.  The month after that it was Christmas, still messed up paychecks.  A new year started in January 2014 and WOW, his very first paycheck of the year was completely messed up.  Not only were his hours incorrect but they completely dropped his shift differential from his pay which cut his check down by over $400.

Every 2 weeks from April 2013 until now we have budgeted for the hours he worked and planned our bills and grocery money around those paychecks.  When he gets paid and the paycheck doesn’t match what we were budgeting, not even CLOSE to it, we are hosed.  In a hole to begin with and no way to dig out.  When this goes on week after week after week you are perpetually in “the hole” robbing from Peter to pay Paul and boy does it wear you out.  Electric cut-off notices, internet service turned off, water service cut off, cell phones turned off, you name it.  We went without internet and cell phones and TV most often because they were luxuries not necessities.

After the first few times we prayed about it and realized that maybe we were being tested and refined by God and that we needed this experience.  We had never been very good with money but we were a 1 income family with 5 people and we did the best we could.  6 months passed and we were still praying but started wondering, “What if it isn’t God testing us?  What if it’s the enemy really coming at us and we are approaching this all wrong?”  So about the time we got moved (and trust me we BARELY scraped through that) we switched our strategy.  We started praying from a different perspective.  Well eventually they started getting his paychecks right, his last 2 have been spot on accurate but other things happened that stood in our way of feeling relief.

Despite his checks being correct we had other interferences.  The first paycheck in January mostly went to rent.  We set it up through our bank’s online bill pay system because it was GUARANTEED to be at the destination by a specific date.  Guess what?  It didn’t arrive on that dateand guess what?  Our landlord filed eviction papers.  The payment was already late because of incorrect paychecks.  We even had his employer send a letter to our landlord explaining the issues and taking full responsibility.  It didn’t matter.  When I contacted the bank and confronted them about it not being delivered and wanting them to release our money back into our account they informed me that it would take 10 business days.  We managed to talk to the landlord and use Erick’s next check to cover the January rent and stop any court proceedings and we had to pay extra filing fees on top of that.  But that also meant that the check we had just used to pay January’s rent was supposed to February’s rent and now February was going to have to be late.

By the time our bank released our funds back into our account we were down to 4 slices of bread left and a few pieces of bologna.  Not kidding.  So we paid a few other bills and bought food instead of using that money for February’s rent.  I needed to feed my kids.  That was all I cared about at the time.  We had struggled for so long eating on such a minimal budget that man, I was just worn out and so tired of telling them “no” for basic things.  Tired of being afraid of what I was going to tell them the next day when there wasn’t anything for breakfast.

We continued to tithe and give offerings at church throughout all of this because obedience is very important to us.  It is a necessity.  Throughout everything we were blessed in a multitude of ways.  My mama would show up with groceries out of the blue.  A friend would ask if I wanted to take her “extras” of coffee, groceries, toiletries, etc.  Even my daughter would offer to help out without being asked.  So many different little things would pop up and I know every one of those was God.  He even worked it out one time so that Erick’s employer deposited $350 that was missing from a previous paycheck in our account in between pay periods (they have NEVER done that before) at the very moment we needed it the most.  A few weeks ago we were so bad off that Erick didn’t have the money for gas to go to work on his overtime days.  When his boss called to ask him to come in and Erick told him he couldn’t afford the gas his boss offered to give him some money so he could get gas.  It was a miracle for us.

Well here we are again.  This last paycheck was correct.  100% accurate so it’s fitting that something still had to happen.  We had plenty of money to get groceries, more than we had had in awhile, left over.  When I checked the account online the next morning we had $29.00!  We were supposed to have $200 in there.  My heart sank.  This was last week.  I called the bank and reported the unauthorized charge and they are investigating it but, again, 10 business days to release our funds.  So here we are.  Down to 4 pieces of bread, no milk, no fruit, no ramen noodles, no peanut butter, nothing.  Out. Of. Everything.  And everyone I reached out to couldn’t afford to even loan out $20 just so I could get what we needed to get through next Wednesday.  God came through again though.  He blessed us with $50 today so that I could get to the store and get what we needed.  It is a huge relief for us but man, I am SO EXHAUSTED.

So, why is this happening to us?  Is God really working THIS hard to refine us?  Or is the enemy really coming at us hard for an extended period of time?  How do I know?  We are very active in our church.  Our children are very active in our church.  God is our #1 around here and we work for Him and Him only.  As I am typing this the Holy Spirit revealed to me what I had feared…..it’s not God testing us.  At the same time he revealed this to me he reminded me of all of the battles we have faced over the last year, not just financial.  So many attacks from so many different directions…..wow.  I can’t even begin to list them all.  He also reminded me of all the things we have done over the last year for the Kingdom of God.  Now it all makes sense.

So, if you are reading this I ask for you to join with me and my family in prayer.  Bind the enemy from having anymore influence in our lives, our love, our relationships, our family, and our finances!  Pray for God’s protective hand over my family as we struggle to recover from these last many months and fight to get back on our feet!  Pray that we continue to fight the good fight for the Kingdom of God and that we never allow Satan to drag us down into his depths.  Pray however you can pray because I am afraid that we are under an all out, full-frontal attack here and we can’t battle this one alone (with God).  We need you, our prayer warriors!

Thank you in advance and GOD BLESS YOU!

 

If You Could Talk To Anyone….

I have seen a graphic going around on Facebook lately that states, “If you could sit and talk to ANYONE from the past or present, alive or dead, who it would be?  My gut reaction is Jesus!  Of course I want to meet and talk to Him.  I mean who wouldn’t right?  But, after I thought about it more and picked up my Bible to read in the New Testament, I quickly realized that the person I MOST wanted to meet and talk to was Paul!

My husband more closely relates to David of the Old Testament because, although he was a man after God’s own heart, he was still broken.  He committed adultery, murder, and was guilty of lust among other things YET he still saw the error of his ways and always turned back to God to ask forgiveness.  I’m glad that David resonates with my husband, but he doesn’t resonate with me.

Paul resonates with me.  This is a man who came from a life of living for God (or so he thought), persecuting Christians and followers of The Way, imprisoning, killing, and beating them all in the name of God.  He truly believed that what he was doing was right and good in God’s eyes.  Until one day…..on the way to persecute even more Christians in Damascus and drag them back to put them in prison he was dropped to his knees by A VOICE.  A light shone on him and a VOICE asked him, “Saul why are you persecuting me?”  Saul’s reply?  “Who are you, Lord?”  Not just a, “who are you?”  But he was aware enough to recognize the voice of The Lord.  “I am Jesus Christ, the one whom you persecute.”  Jesus goes on to tell him that he will be the disciple who carries His message to the Gentiles.

Jesus chose a very bitter, angry, and unholy man in Saul.  He picked THIS person to carry the most important message in the world and spread it beyond the borders of Israel!  What a HUGE task!  What an extremely important task!  This man had spent years of his life hunting down these people and carrying out judgment upon them and now he was being told to carry the very message he had been trying to destroy.  Jesus chose him.  Not Peter.  Not James.  Not even John, the most beloved disciple of Jesus!  He chose the exact opposite of these men, Saul.  He chose the very man that stood and held the coats of men so that they could beat Timothy to death in the street because of his faith in Jesus Christ.  Saul.  A man who was raised form birth to be a Pharisee, a teacher of religious law.  He was groomed and molded to be legalistic and judgmental but Jesus chose HIM!

He blinds this man and sends him on his way to Damascus to meet up with a follower of Christ, Ananias.  Ananias received a call from the Lord also, to go and meet this man, Saul of Tarsus, and heal him and Baptize him in the name of Jesus Christ.  Ananias was NOT happy about this.  He had heard of Saul and he knew that Saul had a really bad wrap!  But both Saul and Ananias were obedient to the Lord.

3 days Saul goes without food or water and then Ananias heals his vision and scales dropped from his eyes.  Scales?  When I was saved by Christ I know my vision changed but it wasn’t scales that fell from my eyes it was more like a veil was lifted and I could see how the enemy works and moves in our lives more clearly.  Like I was given great discernment.  I kind of imagine this is what happened to Saul.  His eyes were opened to the TRUTH and to the LIFE of Jesus Christ and to finally see the lies of the enemy and how he has actually been working for Satan and not for God.  I can’t imagine the pain and anguish he experienced as he realized his wrongs.  The people he had hurt, imprisoned and even murdered.  It must have overwhelmed him.

Jesus changed his name from Saul to Paul and sends him out among the Gentiles to teach and even to suffer for His name’s sake.  Paul goes on to write HALF of the New Testament of the Bible and some of the most powerful, impassioned, amazing letters I have ever read.  The Epistles of Paul changed my life.  He never failed to admit his humanity.  He never failed to recognize that he still had faults and still lived in this world.  He also never failed to praise God and Jesus and he never failed to encourage and lift up others along their journey.

He went from being a horrible, evil man to being possibly the most influential disciple Christ ever had.  This is the man I want to meet and talk to.  This man who really and truly became a new creation in Christ Jesus.  This man who left behind the old and embraced the new.  I wanna know THAT guy!

I relate more closely to Paul because before I was a true follower of Jesus Christ I lived a very different life.  A life that I am not proud of.  A life that was wracked with sin and anger and lies (yes anger and lies are also sins).  I often reached out to learn about creation and God but in metaphysical ways, not through a true relationship with Jesus.  I laughed at so-called Christians and pointed out the hypocrisy of the Bible (even though I had never read it).  You can say that I “persecuted” Christians too.  It wasn’t until 2 years ago that I really truly began a relationship with God and only 4 months ago that I was truly saved by Jesus.  I was that Saul of Tarsus before I was saved.  Now I hope and pray to be Paul that I may teach and guide, encourage and lead others to know Jesus Christ.  I pray that I am a light to the world and that when others see me they see Jesus.  Jesus transformed me just like he did Saul/Paul.

God Bless!

False Teachers/Prophets/Messiahs

It is very likely that this post is going to ruffle some feathers.  I myself was once a big believer and supporter of the “pastor” I am going to discuss today.  If I upset or offend anyone, I truly am sorry.  It is not my intention to offend but it IS my intention to bring attention to this matter.

Until recently I was a fan of Joel Osteen.  I have several of his books and even 3 of his Hope For Today Bibles.  I love the Bibles very much because they are NLT versions and I love the little nuggets of information spattered throughout the books.  I still read that Bible as a matter of fact because it is A BIBLE, but not because it is a Joel Osteen Bible.  When my family and I started to walk the path to Jesus Christ it was Joel Osteen’s sermons we watched every week until we found our home church.  So why am I taking this stance?

It all started with THIS video.  I’ve watched other interviews with Pastor Osteen before and I always come away with the same feeling:  that I’m being robbed in some way.  So with this most recent interview with Larry King I sat down and decided I was going to really listen and make a note of the things that left me feeling “off”.  Now, I am not saying that Joel Osteen is an anti-Christ (but I suggest you reference the actualy Biblical definition of anti-Christ).  I’m not saying he is the Devil. I’m saying that I truly want people to pay more attention to what he says and how he teaches.

In response to Larry King asking about how his ministry grew after he took the pulpit upon his father’s death and how it grew so much, Joel Osteen didn’t give the credit to God, but instead he said, he thought to himself, “The church is growing and people are coming and I don’t know what it was.”  Where most pastors today would offer “God” as the explanation and give the glory to Him.  Was this enough to turn me away from him?  No it wasn’t.  There is so much more to discuss.

When asked about what he teaches/preaches he replied that he teaches people, “How do I forgive, have a good attitude, and reach my dreams?” and then concluded with “How do we live out the Christian faith?”  Although forgiving is imperative to the Christian faith, having the good attitude relies completely on walking your path with Christ, living the life God has blessed you with, carrying out His tasks and goals, being disciples, etc.  The last thing on our hearts and minds should be, “How do I reach my dreams?”  What so many don’t understand is that God plants dreams within our hearts for each and every one of us.  When He plants those dreams He also blesses us and equips us with the ability to achieve those dreams and goals.  When we walk with Him in faith and make Him our top priority those dreams naturally come and are achieved.  For me to walk into church with the goal of, “How do I reach my dreams?” instead of, “How can a relationship with Jesus Christ help me change for the better?” makes our faith a selfish one.

Later on Joel was asked about the different types of faiths that watch and listen to him like Muslims and Athiests.  He was asked why does he appeal so much to those of other faiths and his response was, “The PRINCIPLES that we teach are from the Scriptures, but they can help anybody to reach dreams of forgiveness or to have a good self image.”  He is right that the Scriptures can help ANYBODY and that includes those of other faiths, however, I certainly won’t want to be taught the PRINCIPLES of the Scriptures, I really need to know and be taught the inerrant word of God, the actual Scriptures, and how they apply to my life.  I want to understand what they meant in context back in Jesus’ day and how they still apply to me now.  A pastor should teach Scriptures, not simply principles of Scriptures.  A pastor should also be less concerned with teaching people how to have a “good self image” because when one teaches the inerrant word of God and a follower listens, learns, and grows in their faith they naturally begin to see themselves as God sees them, good and pleasing and worthy of salvation.  A good SELF image again focuses on the self.

When asked about what he teaches Joel Osteen said that he doesn’t teach “Scripture by Scripture but more of how to live a great life”.  Really?  One lives a “great” life by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and walking with Him every day.  It’s about dying to the flesh and surrendering to the will of God and reading the Bible to learn what God wants to say to us.  The Bible is ALIVE and breathing and God speaks to us through that.  It is imperative that a Christian know and understand and learn the truth contained within it in order to live their life as the Lord has guided us to.  That is how we live a great life, by reading and learning Scripture by Scripture.  By living for God and not for ourselves.

Pastor Osteen also mentioned that, “In the past religion was about, ‘you’re doing this wrong, you can’t measure up,’ people already have enough guilt and condemnation or are beaten down by life.”  The hard truth is that if you aren’t living life as the Bible teaches, if you aren’t participating in a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God, and if you are continuing to live OF the world outside of church then YES you are going to feel condemnation and guilt.  It’s also called CONVICTION in Christian circles.  When we turn our backs on our faith and start making choices based on what we WANT instead of what is right or what is best or what God would want us to choose, then yep, the Holy Spirit tends to remind us of that, A LOT.  On top of that the enemy jumps on board, noticing the conviction we might be experiencing and latches on with guilt and condemnation.  “You are never going to measure up to the ‘rules’ in the Bible!”  “You are a failure at being a Christian, you should just give up.”  “If everyone here knew what you did last night they would turn their backs on you and judge you.”  Any of this sound familiar to anyone?  It does to me.  Know why?  Because this is how the enemy works.  I have heard it, my kids have heard it, my husband has heard it.  WE ALL HAVE.  The conviction of doing something wrong and outside of God’s will comes from the Holy Spirit to remind us where we SHOULD be.  The condemnation and guilt comes form Satan because the more he can beat us down the easier it is to break our bond with the church and with God.  In the past religion was legalistic.  That was the reason Jesus Christ condemned the Pharisees and Sadducees.  They lost the meaning of the Word in all of the rules and gave the enemy free reign.  Pastor Osteen is leaving out the teaching that FOLLOWING Christ doesn’t lead us into guilt and condemnation and that Satan is the one who uses guilt and condemnation.  Discernment is missing here as a lesson.

Moving on.  Let’s just jump right into my main issues with this interview. So far I have touched on little, seemingly insignificant things.  What about Homosexuality?  What do Scriptures teach about this?  Let’s see there is Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman.  It is an abomination.”  There is also, “If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.  They shall surely be put to death.  Their blood shall be upon them.”  I’m pretty sure that it is as clear as day there.  God tells us that to LIE with the same sex is an abomination.  The ACT of homosexuality is a sin, an abomination.  Loving another human being of the same sex is NOT a sin.  I love my girl friends very much and I would give my life to save one of them if called to do so but I wouldn’t give myself to one of them sexually.  Let’s go beyond Old Law and Old Testament and see what Paul says in the New Testament.

How about Romans 1:18-32,

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

God took this sin pretty seriously as did Jesus Christ so one would assume that a pastor would too.  When asked about his views on homosexuality Pastor Osteen commented that, “it doesn’t annoy me but from a Scriptural point of view it’s nothing I would teach.”  He didn’t state what the Bible states and refuses to discuss this topic publicly to any extent.  Why?  Possibly because it would hurt his ministry?  His reach?  Hurt the growth and donations that come rolling in?  Possibly.  But I know that refusing to preach a true, Biblical fact isn’t something that would please our Creator.  By refusing to preach or teach on this topic at all he therefore refuses to take a side or a stand at all and in verse 32 in the above Scripture Paul says that those who ALSO approve of those who practice these sins are deserving of death.  This is why Sodom was destroyed and only Lot and his family escaped.  Not everyone was a homosexual or participated in homosexuality or murder or thievery but they approved of it.  They ALL perished.  Pastor Osteen has, in a sense, taken a stand against Christ by not standing with Him publicly on this matter.  That really saddens me.  Remember this is a man I wanted to believe, I wanted to follow.

I once had someone I love and respect very much remind me that, “we should know them by their fruits.”  Matthew 7:15-16a in whole states, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.  You will know them by their fruits.”  Since that time I have paid close attention to his “fruits”.  What I have seen is an avoidance of taking a true stand in the Gospel on any subject that might offend general society.  I have seen him preach a gospel of inclusion.  Did Jesus come to teach us a Gospel of Inclusion or Universalism?  Considering it was Jesus himself that warned us of the false prophets, it was Jesus who also stated that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven,” and later said that He will then declare, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”  Jesus does NOT teach a gospel of inclusion.  He teaches a Gospel that leads us to DIE to ourselves DAILY, to give up everything we have and hand it over to God, to pick up our crosses (instruments of torture and death) if we want to follow Him.  That doesn’t sound like a gospel of inclusion to me.  It sounds like it’s ugly and painful and difficult and takes a lot of hard work.  Jesus also reminds us that, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”-Matthew 12:30.  I am looking at Pastor Osteens fruits.  He has MILLIONS that watch him every week on TV and in his church, Lakewood Church.  He makes MILLIONS of dollars from his book sales, etc.  But what he is teaching is not what Jesus Christ taught us and still requires of us today.  He hasn’t taken a stand.

In one of the most offensive comments of this interview Pastor Osteen stated, when asked about the Bible being literal or parable, that, “I believe it is literal but there are parables in there as well.  I wouldn’t say, I’m not a scholar, but I try to stick with the things I DO BELIEVE.”  Do I really need to explain this any further?  As Christians we stand on God’s Holy Word and believe that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. Period.  We don’t pick and choose to teach about, learn about, and preach about only certain things.  We are to welcome it all, in its entirety.  Picking and choosing what we believe in and teach is completely against God.

Wrapping up the interview Larry King asked if Joel attended Seminary, to which he said, “no” but that he was “ordained from Lakewood Church”, his very own church and that he doesn’t, “Come at it from a theological point of view and I think that’s part of my success.”  I think it is MOST of his success because theology is true learning and understanding of the Bible and that truth, that understanding, isn’t as pretty as most make it out to be.  It’s ugly and hurtful and PAINFULLY honest.  We are promised, as Christians, that we will be persecuted simply because we love Christ.  We are promised that we will be tortured and murdered simply because we BELIEVE in the Good News.  That’s not a nice, neat, all inclusive little package.  It’s frightening.  Pastor Osteen likes fans but I don’t think he can truly lead followers.

One of the last things he said to Larry King was that he doesn’t get a salary form the church anymore and that he only receives income from his book sales.  He also said that he doesn’t ever ask for our money.  As someone who religiously (no pun intended) tithed and donated to Pastor Osteen’s ministry for several months prior to finding my own home church I can state clearly that YES they do ask for money.  When we started tithing and donating to our home church and stopped sending tithes to Lakewood Church we received phone calls all hours of the day asking us to donate.  They sent numerous letters asking us to send more money, promising we would receive gifts if we did.  I’m sorry but I see that as asking for money.

Pastor Osteen likes to tell us that we can be spiritual without being religious and I concur with that to a point.  I’m not “religious” but I am also not simply “spiritual”.  I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I will stand in the face of persecution and agree with all He taught.  ALL of it.  I’m not going to look Satan in the eye and say, “well I believed MOST of it” and I won’t look Jesus in the eye and say, “yeah but I didn’t agree with your views on homosexuality” because His reply to me would be, “So then, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.”-Revelation 3:16.

Pastor Joel Osteen isn’t a BAD person and I don’t believe he is Satan in sheep’s clothing but I do believe that by living the “doctrine” he is teaching you will be led away from the true teachings of Jesus Christ, the true Gospel.

Be wary.

God Bless.

The Submissive Wife

I read an article today that really and truly offended me.  It takes a lot to offend me.  More than most people. Considering the things I was exposed to at a very young age, there isn’t much out there in this world that can make me blush, sadly.  This particular article did exactly that.

HERE is the link to the article I am talking about.  I am ONLY linking to this simply so that I don’t have to copy and paste the entire article on my site.  If you wish to read it, you may do so, however, if you are a stay at home mom and/or a homeschooler, I suggest you prepare yourself to be offended.

We are gonna take this line by ugly line so that I can really clarify the abundance of misinformation and ignorance evidenced in this article.  First let’s address this:

“Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal
footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way
those two things are the same.”

First I’m going to take a stab in the dark and guess that this “woman” is in her mid to late twenties.  Why?  Because these 2 sentences show a plethora of immaturity and to understand the true dynamics of responsibility one must be at least a little more mature.  I’m struck by the usage of “on equal footing” because, honestly, I’ve been on both sides of this equation.  I was a young, single, working mother at one time.  My oldest daughter is now 20 and I didn’t become a stay at home mom until she was 10.  I know how hard the first one is and I can say without hesitation, that these 2 are NOT on equal footing.  Being a stay at home mom has been much more of a challenge than being a working mom ever was.  I mean NO disrespect to those moms who still work.  None.  I am simply stating that in my experience, this has been harder for a multitude of reasons.  Stepping back and learning to depend on another human being for everything we need in life….that was NOT easy.

Next…..

“These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks,
literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in
the history of the world. They are, by definition, average. And here’s
the thing, why on earth are we settling for average?”

Sadly she is spot on in this.  Marriage is way too common.  It is way too common to meet a guy and become infatuated with him (as opposed to being in love), have sex outside of marriage, get pregnant, marry him out of obligation, be miserable, and get divorced.  It is more common than it should be.  Marriage was designed for 2 people, a man and a woman (yes I do believe and support this biblical view), who were prepared to spend the rest of their lives together.  It was not intended to be something that you entered into with the thought of, “well if it doesn’t work out at least I can always get divorced.”  I say this even as a woman who is on her 3rd marriage!  I am not a hypocrite, I have learned from my mistakes, but I came from a mother who has been married 7 times.  What was I supposed to learn from that?  That marriage was a forever thing or a disposable thing?  Exactly.  I am where God intended for me to be now and I know that this will be a forever thing because we are both committed to that.  Marriage and pregnancy should NOT be as common as it is today.

Ok, moving on.

“If women can do anything, why are we still content with applauding them for doing nothing?”

Ok, deep breath here.  Heavenly Father, plant your words into my mouth and help me to hold every thought captive as I address the apparent ignorance in this last sentence.

Nothing?  We are being applauded for doing NOTHING?  Do I REALLY need to address this?  Apparently so because this point of view is much more common than we care to realize.  I wake up at 6:30 am most days.  I try to get some quiet, alone time to read my Bible, have my prayers and do my journaling.  Does that always happen?  Nope.  I get 3 kids up and around, fed and dressed, and we start school usually about 9:30 am.  From there we deal with constant interruptions form phone calls to knocks at the door, to grocery store runs, to the 5 year old breaking something, or God forbid, one of them gets sick.  We try to be done with school by lunch time but, as you can tell from the previous sentence, that is a rarity.  Homeschooling doesn’t take 7 hours a day plus homework.  I could go off on a tangent here but I digress.  We aren’t even halfway through the day yet.  I still have to keep the house REASONABLY clean, make lunch, do laundry, clean bathrooms, figure out dinner and feed myself at some point.  We have library trips and doctor visits.  We have field trips and church.  Sitting still isn’t exactly something we are good at around here, hence my desire for morning quiet time.  We also have dinner and showers/baths to take care of, dishes to do, and cleaning is a constant day-long activity.  If I’m lucky I can get an hour of quiet time from 10pm to 11pm after the kids are all in bed, as long as I don’t pass out from exhaustion. I do nothing?  Sister I am raising 3 children who are going to be in charge of this world and your social security benefits someday.  I’m pretty sure that in about 10-15 more years you will only wish that more parents were stay at home moms when you realize the condition of society today.  The selfishness of this world is frightening to me.  It is truly visible in someplace like the grocery store where I never fail to run into half a dozen people with their cell phones in one hand/ear while trying to drive a grocery cart with the other, stopping in the middle of the aisles only to keep me and several others from being able to retrieve a box of K-Cups so that they can discuss their new bathroom theme with their BFF!  Selfishness is a disease and it is running rampant.  I refuse to contribute to that.  Someday you will all be thankful for the stay at home moms that took the time and energy to really focus on these matters and raise up a generation better than ourselves!  Women CAN do anything and the fact that we CHOOSE to do this should speak volumes.

I am not saying here that a working mom can’t do the same thing.  I am merely stating that there is a difference in the time of allowable instruction in these matters.  I will explain that later.

Ok, phew….what’s next?

“I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own
through Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job not when she stays
inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of
least resistance. The dominate cultural voice will tell you these are
things you can do with a husband and kids, but it’s a lie.  It’s just not reality.
You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.  “

Let me calmly and maturely attempt to explain WHY this is not a reality.  Because these things are SELF focused.  They are all about what YOU want and stay at home moms are the least selfish people I have ever known in my life.  We spend every single day caring more about our children and our family than we do about what brand of clothing we are wearing and what YOU think about us.  We do most of what we do often with very little appreciation from our own spouses and society and especially from people like this young woman who obviously have NO CLUE.  We have been CALLED to give up those things that others deem so important so that we can make our families the most important things in our lives.  Let me give you a little background on me.  When I gave birth to my 2nd child I was the Marketing Director at a local company.  I made GOOOOOD money.  I had a career and I had busted my rear end to get there.  I was raised with the belief that if I wasn’t working then I wasn’t contributing to my family.  So when the doctor laid my son on my stomach and I heard God say to me, “would you give your life for him?” I was terrified.  God wasn’t asking if I would stand in front of a speeding bus to save my son, although most of us would do that without even a second thought, He was asking me to let go of all of things I had deemed more important so that I could serve my child, my family.  From my experience many are willing to jump in front of a bus but not many are willing to give up those desires, wants, and dreams that they have for the sake of their kids.  To many our job or career is our identity.  To a stay at home mom, her family is her identity.  Our priorities are different.  I was CALLED out of this world by God to take this on and it scared me to death.  It was the most difficult thing I have EVER done in my life.  I hated it for the first 2 years because I couldn’t let go of who I used to be and allow God to mold me into the woman He created me to be.  11 years later and I couldn’t be happier.  It’s a calling.  It’s not for everyone.  It’s a sacrifice that not all are willing to make.  God does NOT call those who are equipped, He equips those that He calls.  We had to let go of our nice home and new cars.  We had to give up vacations and eating out.  We downsized to one income, an income that was far below what mine was at the time.  It was scary and hard but we did it.  Our reward is that this year we are taking all of the kids to Disneyworld for vacation, we can now afford to have the nicer home and eat out every once in awhile all on one income.  I invested in my husband and he has grown and prospered and become the most incredible man because of it.  We trusted in God and He rewarded our faithfulness in Him.  I don’t want to backpack across Asia unless my family is with me, sorry.  I kinda LOVE them and can’t imagine doing something that amazing without them by my side.  I feel sorry for those who would choose to do it alone.

Ok, next…..

“It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments.
Men don’t care to “manage a household.” They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.” 
Women will be equal with men when we stop demanding that it be considered equally important to do housework and real work.
They are not equal. Doing laundry will never be as important as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business. This word play is holding us back.”

I can’t believe I really even need to address this.  Men aren’t conditioned to think STUPID things like managing a home is important?  First of all I would hate to see what her house or apartment looks like.  I would also hate to see what her bills and savings account and investments look like.  If she doesn’t handle these things they are either in complete shambles or she pays someone else to handle them.  Those are all considered part of managing a household and we do all of that for free.  Men don’t care to manage a household because men are largely incapable of multi-tasking and coping with the emotional stresses of it all.  My husband will be the first to jump in and agree with me on this one.  He doesn’t want this job and the days that I am incapable of managing my household (because, by the way, I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogrens Syndrome and Ankylosing Spondylitis and have days where the pain is just overwhelming, but I apologize for my laziness) he often steers clear of my duties and simply plays with the kids.  He hates it.  He wants nothing to do with it.  He loves his work and what he does and it makes sense to him.  Managing a home makes no sense to him.  Plain and simple.  He is also the first to interrupt anyone who spouts off ignorance like this and defend me and any other woman who is a stay at home mom.  Any man who belittles what a woman does at home managing her household and raising her children has a bad relationship with his mother.  Period.  Same could possibly be said about women who belittle this choice as well.  No respect there at all and that is painfully obvious.  I take pride in my family and in my home.  They are gifts from God and I work as though I work for Him and not for any other human being.

For a very long time I considered myself a “feminist” and “independent”.  I was raised to “carry my own weight” and to be an “equal contributor” to my family.  I worked from the time I was 14 years old.  I laughed at women who “served” their husbands and could often be overheard telling mine to “get it your own self”.  I demanded that they work equally as hard taking care of the house as I did because we both worked equally and we should both contribute equally.  I saw those women who had dinner on the table when their husbands walked in from work as WEAK and sad.

Then I married the one man that God made for me.  I had loved him since I was 15.  We had an insane connection with one another and we were now inseparable.  I found myself wanting more children even though I had been told I couldn’t have anymore simply because I wanted to see what kind of person the two of us could make together.  I found myself doing everything I could to make him happy.  Knowing he got up for work when it was still dark outside and he refused to turn on any lights I would often make sure shoes and toys were out of his pathway before I went to bed so he wouldn’t trip.  I knew he was always cold (and I was always hot) so I would set the thermostat to turn warmer one hour before his alarm went off so he wouldn’t be freezing in the mornings.  I loved doing things for him.  Did he notice them?  Usually no.  Did he show me appreciation for those things?  Usually not.  Did I get offended at that?  Nope.  Because I LOVE him and I wanted to make him happy.  I enjoyed doing things for him and thinking of him first.  I wasn’t doing those things to receive praise or a reward from him.  I wasn’t SERVING him and I certainly wasn’t WEAK, I simply enjoyed seeing him smile.  Before long I was cooking dinner and having it ready as soon as he got home from work.  What was happening to me?  I was becoming one of “those women” and I suddenly UNDERSTOOD.  It all made sense to me.  Those women weren’t weak or submissive or subservient to their husbands, they were happy and in love.  They put their family’s happiness and peace of mind before their own.

As a Christian woman I have learned to be submissive to my husband.  Submission does NOT mean weakness.  It does not mean I have less value than my husband.  The biblical view on submission teaches women that it is ok to be strong, to have an opinion, to discuss those feelings and opinions with our husbands and to also RESPECT them when they make a choice, even when we don’t agree with that choice.  I am a very dominant woman.  I am often described as loud and even obnoxious.  I am aggressive.  I know what I want.  My husband is much quieter.  He doesn’t like confrontation.  He is completely against rocking any boat.  Many would see me as the leader and him as the weaker one.  Not true.  My husband is the head of this family and I respect that fact.  If he isn’t confronting an issue that I normally would, I stand back and allow him to handle it how he feels he should and, more often than not, he teaches me that my reaction would have been COMPLETELY inappropriate simply through his example.

As to my first comment about this woman’s age….when I had these views about being independent and not serving a man I was in my twenties.  I was even married.  When did those views change?  When I was in my 30’s and was finally maturing past the most selfish years in a person’s life.  I believe strongly that our lives are designed in seasons for this exact reason.  Think of your 20’s as your selfish years.  These are the years we are SUPPOSED to spend doing all the things we want to do.  Traveling.  Partying. Advancing in our careers.  It’s all about US.  It’s when we hit our 30’s that we start truly becoming more aware of other people and how our choices may affect them.  This is when we start learning that we can enjoy making others happy and putting them first.  This is when we are ready to truly become spouses and parents.  I was a mom at 21 and I can honestly say I was and am a far better mom in my 30’s and 40’s than I was in my 20’s.  I was a selfish twit in my 20’s.  I also know many women who were wonderful mom’s in their 20’s and some who were even wonderful mom’s as teenagers; although they are the exception and not the rule.

My heart truly breaks for the woman who wrote this article and placed it out there for the world to see because in a few years her views will change as she ages and matures and quickly realizes that we aren’t meant to be self-serving, stingy, angry little people.  God created us to share our lives with a spouse and possibly to even have children and learn to understand Him through those relationships.  I pray for her naiveté and that her words aren’t permitted to influence other readers out there in this world.  As for the women who choose to live a life for and of themselves?  Congratulations.  Maybe that’s what God designed you for and that is wonderful.  I respect that but I also know that that is NOT my purpose or calling.  I do not respect you any less for not being married or wanting to be married and you should not disrespect me and my life simply because it isn’t your calling.  Working moms?  I love you and respect you also.  Trying to do all that we do as a mom AND work outside the home is a very difficult task and I praise you.  Stay at home moms?  It’s all good sisters.

God Bless.