simple but true

While the big kids were in the final half-hour of their wilderness class, the little boys and I found a tree with a bench swing. There we sat down, pulled out notebooks and crayons, and had an art lesson. It’s all about perspective, friends. From where I was standing when I took this picture, the sky, by far, makes up the majority of what you see. From where we were sitting on that quaint little swing, the water filled up over half of the page.

Today we had piano lessons, and when I woke up this morning, I woke up not feeling it, the passion for the homeschool day. Starting school and the changing of seasons always seems to mess with my circadian rhythm. I’ll be awake for over two hours in the night, and then power-nap-worthy tired by the deep afternoon. It’s hit or miss what nights I will sleep, but last night was one of the more awake ones. I fell back asleep and didn’t wake until 7.

This afternoon I don’t feel tired at all, and my fleeting moments of not wanting to go to piano lessons today passed. I waited until the second of hour of piano to go to the store, after initially deciding I wasn’t going to go this time. Last week’s gathering of food for my apocalypse collection is still sitting in the mud room, as I’ve been perfectly content to keep conveniently stepping over it, and it’s absolutely true, that it hasn’t bothered me a bit.

I’m still in a dry spell when it comes to reading, except when it comes to reading the Bible. There have been times when I could easily be in the middle of ten books at a time, but struggled to find any desire or interest in reading the Bible. The situation and feelings have now been reversed. My husband and I get up around 5:30 and make our coffee together. He reads or works on sermons at the dining room table. I don’t like daytime lights in the early morning, so I use the dining room light to read from the couch.

I wanted today’s reading to go on for much longer, to not eventually have to stop to take the kids to piano lessons. But, and isn’t this just the unavoidable truth, we do things we don’t feel like doing sometimes. I do feel like I owe it to my kids, having chosen to homeschool, to be reasonably consistent in our daily routines, and consistently pleasant in my daily demeanor. In that way mothering shapes me into a healthier, more balanced, well-rounded person.

That’s not to say we never need grace, but everybody already knows that here. Ask me again in twenty years, but I’m pretty sure I’d never promote the adage that “the woman is like a thermostat, setting the overall temperature in the home” or “the woman sets the tone for the home”. That’s too much pressure, too much power to place in one person’s hands. But, surely, “Children are a blessing here. Time with them is so, so dear.”

when men and women leave their God

I would like to take some time to respectfully disagree with and respond to a blog post I read earlier this morning. The blog was titled, “When Women Leave Their God-Ordained Role”, published on The Transformed Wife blog. For the sake of clarity I will republish the entire linked blog post here.

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When Women Leave Their God-Ordained Roles

God didn’t give men high sex drives so they could watch porn and masturbate, commit fornication with multiple women, or delve into homosexuality and pedophilia. No, God gave men high sex drives so they would want to marry and be fruitful and multiply. Many women will bemoan the fact that there are no good men left because they have all gone astray, therefore, there isn’t anyone for them to marry. The problem stems from feminism. When women stopped being feminine and doing what God calls them to do, men stopped being masculine and doing what God calls them to do.

One woman asked this on my Instagram yesterday: “I still feel like I don’t fully understand though. Is marriage the only reason why men are given a higher sex drive? Or is it just simply part of their nature?”

A man responded to her: “It’s both. It’s our nature to have the higher sex drive. God gave us marriage so we can take that energy and channel it into being fruitful and multiplying. Without marriage and with birth control, our sex drive very quickly leads to degeneracy and hedonism.”

Another man responded to her: “No, it’s not the only reason, but we are made to procreate. Marriage is a healthy way to express procreation with a strong family unit. Higher sex drive is also what allows men to work longer hours and gives us the drive to invent and create things that we have in this world today.”

Feminism taught women to hold off getting married and pursue higher education and careers instead. Essentially, they were told to become men. In order to do this, they were taught that they must become liberated with your bodies and enjoy sex outside of marriage (fornication) by using birth control. THIS was and is the feminist message that young women hear! What happens when most of the young women decide to delay marriage, sleep around, and use birth control? Men no longer have a healthy sexual outlet in marriage and instead find sexually available women to meet their sexual needs or resort to porn or other sinful activities.

When women left their God ordained role, men left theirs. When women because immodest and promiscuous, men stopped having the goal of getting married and having children. And culture is being destroyed while everyone suffers. Women weren’t created for men’s roles and men weren’t created for women’s roles. It’s as simple as that. When women want to become men, chaos ensues. Chaos will always ensue when God’s will is ignored.

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
1 Timothy 5:14

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My Response

The author of The Transformed Wife blog is an experienced wife, mother, and grandmother who seeks to lead younger women in the way of Biblical womanhood. The mentoring model, of older women teaching younger women, is a Biblical model and can be found in the Pauline Epistle of Titus:

“You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
~Titus 2:1-5~

When we read the Bible, it is important to understand that the Bible isn’t simply a collection of sayings and stories and teachings. As Christians we confess that the men who wrote the Bible were not writing out of their own power, whims, or strength, but were inspired by the Holy Spirit. We might go so far as to believe that every Biblical author would agree with John, who towards the end of his gospel briefly mentions all the things he had not written down, and then says, “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name (John 20:21).” The Biblical accounts point us to Jesus.

In that manner, any teaching of Biblical womanhood will always be one of a Christ-centered new life, not a woman-centered womanhood. As Christians we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean, and have sinned against God in thought, word, and deed, both by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. Not only is our human nature fallen, but we as individuals are responsible for the sins we commit. A woman cannot save herself from her sins, and neither can she save a man from his. If a man is caught up in the sins of sexual immorality or the myriad of other sins, he is responsible before God, and no one else. If a woman is caught up in the sins of sexual immorality or the myriad of other sins, she is responsible before God for those sins, and nobody else. This is where Jesus comes in.

These Covid days have shown us what happens when we focus too much on only one of the myriad of problems we face as a human race. Our entire society has changed, shifted, and adjusted itself over a virus, something none of us could’ve ever forseen, and I don’t think any of us would agree it’s for the better. The masks. The restrictions. The shut-downs. The isolation. In the same way, when we adjust our historic Christian beliefs, theology, teachings, and lifestyles on the account of a single isolated verse, or when we zero in on feminism or any other “ism” as the sole source of mankind’s problems, we create more problems. Here as well is where Jesus comes in.

Jesus, God’s son, calls sinners to repentance for the purpose that our relationship to God the Father might be restored, so that all that has been broken by sin can be redeemed and made whole. On the cross of Jesus our sins are forgiven, our hearts are made new, our lives are reshaped from a self-centered starting point to a cruciform beginning, and our relationship to God is healed. God does not call women into His Kingdom to send His daughters back out to fight in the cultural wars. He is not asking us to die on our swords or become martyrs in our homes. He’s not asking us to lose ourselves, all hope and joy included, for the sake of loving our husbands and children. Rather, we are called by God–we are loved by God–and in His love we are stilled to love God and others. The “isms” we’ll have to deal with for a while, but only for a while, as Jesus is forever our hope and joy.

I don’t know why men were given high sex drives, or even if making such statements, while seemingly true enough in many cases, is even helpful content for us to ponder and discuss in as much depth as we do at times. As women we are told, and it is true, that we cannot look to a man to be the one to fulfill our every emotional need, but instead, we look to God. A man cannot have sex with God, but God does very much care about him. Without dismissing the damage or denying the existence of human pain and world problems, the love of Jesus is stronger than these. God’s salvation is for us, and His voice is always one of calling sons and daughters home.

one to one

The neighbors let us come and pick apples from their tree again. We took a metal garden rake to be able to reach the higher apples, and picked enough to fill a five-gallon bucket. The upper half of the tree is still full with apples.

It was a slower, rainy Saturday morning over here. With the exception of the sweet potatoes and a zucchini plant that’s still going, the gardens are mostly done with now. This was basically my second time as a first-time gardener, and I’d say the results were pretty evenly mixed. The biggest disappointment was my pumpkin patch. About a month ago it became undeniably obvious the yellow vines would not be producing this year. I’m seeing beautiful orange pumpkins in the grocery stores now. $4.99 a piece.

My daughter and I worked on the apples this afternoon and made it through about half of the bucket. We made two pots of applesauce that are currently still sitting on the stove waiting to be spun up in the food processor then spooned into jars. This wasn’t a non-stop canning all the apples kind of day, but rather I was trying to find something semi-meaningful to do with my daughter. The combination of her being a teen and having no other sisters prompts me more to pay attention to her.

Sunday school begins tomorrow. I’m teaching the 6th-12 grade class and am planning on going through Starting at the End: Worldview, God’s Word & Your Future by Brad Alles. They had several piles of this book in the youth room which is the room I hang out in while the kids are taking their turns for piano lessons. I started looking through book and thought it could potentially be interesting for the kids. I’m looking forward to learning more about all of the “isms” listed in the table of contents, and also Christianity.

Maybe this was always there and I just wasn’t aware of it as a Christian kid growing up, but something that seems more prevalent these days are stories from people who’ve been hurt by the church. I look out at the wreckage of the American church landscape and feel like the kid looking out at all of the starfish stranded on the beach. Where do you start? He starts with reaching for one, picks him up, and throws him back into the ocean. A gentle kindness is the way to go, a broken arrow pointing home.

love set free

“So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.”
~Matthew 4:24~

It’s been a full week of family life, school, and activities. The big kids started a wilderness skills class on Wednesdays for the month of September. While they did that, I took the little boys over to my father-in-law’s farm, to visit with Papa, his brother who lives there, and my husband’s other grandma.

We’ve got our first co-op meeting of the school year this afternoon. Because of covid restrictions, we’re just going to take turns meetings at our homes for now instead of at church. We’re also not doing any official class time right now, and are focusing more on fellowship and just being together. The plan is to sing through Matins, talk briefly about September 11th while making cards for local fire fighters and medics, and then play in the gigantic sand hole that was dug up a couple of weeks ago. They’ve started a building project out at camp, and we were able to save over $10,000 using volunteer labor and the sand that was already part of the grounds.

We’ve got a birthday party tonight at my in-law’s house, for my husband’s 38th and his grandmother’s 91st. It’s not really a party, but more of a special, humble, evening get-together. Boy do I miss and love people sometimes. Over this past weekend I had some wonderful conversations. They weren’t necessarily about all happy things, but they were rich, vulnerable, hopeful, and joyous. I love to hear about other people’s lives, how God is working through their days and bringing change to their hearts.

This somehow got me thinking about how the politically and socially correct name-dropping rules don’t apply to talking about God or telling people about Jesus. It’s typically discouraged and frowned upon to act like you’re special because you’ve got a story about somebody special. But as people touched by God, those rules, too, have changed. The reason we ever first heard about Jesus is because somebody told somebody who told somebody who told somebody. We have all been made special in Kingdom of Heaven, by this Jesus who is known to leave a mark where He goes.

on loving forward

Anybody else feeling lost in the time?

I keep saying I can’t believe it’s September already, and that we’ve already flown through two weeks of school. It’s my favorite place in the world to be, right there, between the desks, taking turns with the varying math. I look toward the window, and see how another has changed so much, and am proud of him for how he now reads, writes, and assuredly works. And yet still another, so dutiful and studious, also changing and developing, needing challenge and adventure beyond the maps of the Oceans and Continents.

She was given all the provinces and territories of Canada. Nova Scotia, Ontario, I couldn’t tell you at all where they were or what their names are. I printed off an extra map for myself, though I have yet to sit down and fill in the gaps. I’m wondering now what the Canadians do, if their children are required to learn the names and locations of our “Fifty, nifty, United States from thirteen original colonies” like we sang in an elementary concert once.

The oldest comes home, from school and cross country practice after school, with homework and an occasional funny story about his friends. My favorite so far is the student who is having dress code issues with his masks. He showed up with a mask that said “Jesus is my Savior, Trump is my President.” The dress code does not allow masks or clothing with politically charged messages. The teacher kindly told the student he needed to find another mask to wear to school. He asked well what if it was a Biden mask, would he be allowed to keep on then? The teacher said absolutely not. He seemed satisfied with the teacher’s answer, and the next day showed up wearing a mask with a picture of a crown of thorns and the American flag.

Other than a 5-minute listen to an occasional livestream, I’ve stayed away from the politics of late. I used to love the thrill and excitement of these races, the drawn out drama of the presidential elections, the making of history happening before your very eyes, the capital letter being written in a sentence where the whole of what you see is mostly lower-case and small.

It seems too many people have been hurt by it now, whether in 2016 or the even more infamous present 2020. In a groaning universe eagerly awaiting redemption, when lies are told to switch sides with the truth, where human souls must live inside tender realities–our thoughts, words, and deeds are costly, friends, and rightly so. May God grant we might spend them well.