Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Home-school Mother Beatitudes

Blessed are you when you're at the end of your rope and don't think you can do this one moment longer. Once you've realized you can't control anything, God has a chance to takeover everything.

Blessed are you when you've given up your comfort, your tidy house, privacy in your own bathroom, and a glamorous career. Without those false identities and comforts, you can now fully embrace the Lord.

Blessed are you when you realize your kids may never speak three languages by age ten like Susan's kids can, may never be the star player, that you may never complete all those lesson plans by May and your house may never be Pinterst-worthy -- and that's OK. This is the moment you find yourself only wanting exactly what you already have.

Blessed are you when you desperately hope that your hours of devotion and bible study and crying out to God will pay off. You will not go unsatisfied.

Blessed are you when you don't even mention to your husband the dirty socks he left in the living room floor (again) or lose your patience with the child who struggled for two hours to learn fractions with tears in his eyes; at this moment you will also experience the gentleness of the Lord towards you.

Blessed are you when, even in this mess of a world, you set your heart on thankfulness and gratitude. You will begin to see God in even the dirty dishes, the piles of laundry, and the boys roughhousing in the hallway.

Blessed are you when you've calmly said, "Honey, be kind to your brother, please," for the fiftieth time today. You know that you are reflecting your Heavenly Father.

Blessed are you when your family members demean your decision to leave you career and home-school your children, or when other parents and school officials turn their noses up at your lifestyle. This only drives you closer to the Lord; and when the Lord is all you have, you discover that he is all you need!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Waiting to See the Masterpiece

Last night on "America's Got Talent" I watched this awesome performance. (Skip to minute 1:15

Then, this morning I decided to go on a sunrise run. It was 6AM sharp and the sun was just beginning to rise over my neighborhood. 
  I ran, but found myself captivated by the could patterns. As the sun rose higher the clouds started to appear like brush strokes across the sky. 

Brush, swoosh, swipe....

I couldn't take my eyes off the creation -- His creation. I was running right through the middle of a masterpiece...
But I couldn't see the big picture, only seemingly random strokes here and there...
Some moments the painting looked dark and gloomy...
Other times bright and radiant...

Out of breath from running, but still praying aloud, I asked, "Oh, Lord, what are you painting? Where do I fit in? Why can't I see the whole picture?"

I was reminded of the painters on TV last night. I couldn't see what was going on in their painting either. It looked disconnected, messy, meaningless, and right before the reveal, it went black. 

It wasn't until I saw the other side, that I had full knowledge and clarity. 

God tells us the same about His masterpiece. Today we can see brush strokes, corners, and partial images. Sometimes it looks messy, disconnected, and eerily dark; but soon we will see the other side.

 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

From Independence to Bondage

Brilliant lights explode in the night’s sky; lighting up my children’s laughing faces. The air is warm and the grass is cool.

It’s the night before Independence Day.

The families around me look celebratory and happy, but this year, I’m not feeling it.

Please understand that I am very grateful for the freedoms I currently enjoy as an American. I can worship on Sunday mornings – aboveground. I can homeschool my children; I can pray in most public places; and I can lay down my head at night without much fear of being arrested for my Christian faith.  Many Christians around the world are not afforded these luxuries.

Yet, with all these things to be grateful for, why aren’t I in the Fourth-of-July mood?

As much as I love Independence Day and all that it represents, it is also a harsh reminder of how far we have strayed from this country’s original intent. Most Americans today, including most Christians, have replaced their God-centered worldview with a man-centered worldview.  

Our founders were not sinless, but this modern humanistic mindset is one of the starkest differences between America then and America now – and its influence is destroying the very freedoms that our founders fought so hard to obtain.

Rosalie Slater describes it well, “For the first one hundred and fifty years or so, we maintained our Christian character as a nation. Then began our period of ‘falling away’ when we worshipped the ‘effect’ of our great success and forgot the ‘cause.’ This vacuum was readily filled with man-centered philosophies which replaced the internal battles of conscience with social, economic, and political struggles of society.”

“Thus,” she goes on, “we veered from a period when even our governmental proclamations were filled with the language of salvation and the recognition that Christ alone could change the hearts of men, to a pre-occupation with educational, social, economic, and eventually political arrangements, which claimed to insure progress and improvement for society, and hence for man.”

I could write countless pages repeating quotes of our founding fathers’ recognition that Jesus Christ is Lord and the ultimate authority of our lives, and we ought to keep Him in that proper place if we hope to succeed.

But today, God is not only being pushed out of our lives’ center, but our schools, capitols, courthouses, and banking system.

Our founders understood that God created earth and everything in it, that He is the master and absolute authority of our lives, and that from the overflow of what He has given to us, we should give to others. But today, even the mention of God as creator is banned from public education, morality is now relative, and the government, through involuntary compulsion, has attempted to replace the tithing church.

The responsibility to teach our children, feed the poor, and help the sick has been taken from the parent, the church, and the individual; and is now the expected role of the government. This switch combined with our humanistic mentality has bred attitudes of ungratefulness and entitlement. 

At a conference earlier this year, I listened to Dave Meyer speak these eye-opening words, “The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations is 200 years. They all take this path: spiritual Faith to great courage, great courage to liberty, liberty to abundance, abundance to selfishness, selfishness to complacency, complacency to apathy, apathy to dependency, and dependency back to bondage.”

I would argue that America is currently between dependency and bondage.

But there is always hope.

Today over fifty percent of people are registered to vote, but less than five percent participate in precinct level politics, which is where the nominees are selected. Consequently, Christians are left in November to choose the “lesser of two evils.”

If you are a Christian, you have a moral obligation to research the candidates and choose leaders whom are Godly -- and whose track records can prove it. Without Christian political leaders, even our Constitution is worthless. As John Adams said, “The Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

 In other words, no matter how perfect the system, it will always fail, unless the hearts of the people are turned towards Christ.

The only hope for our nation is not a more perfect system, a new social program, or any other external remedy, but rather a renewed mindset – a mindset that once again puts God in his proper place – and a group of bold believers who are willing to act. After all, throughout history God has always used a holy remnant, not a majority, to change the course of events.

This Independence Day is bittersweet.

I smile because I live in a country that has seen the amazing, providential hand of God move, and a nation whose leaders once recognized that true liberation comes first from Jesus Christ. Yet, I mourn because most have forgotten this, and it is leading us away from Independence and back to bondage.