Polished Cornerstones

Screenshot (3)That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:
(Psalms 144:12)

As daughters of the King, it is important that we present ourselves with dignity and grace. The verse above describes young women, daughters, who are polished cornerstones who are both ornamental and useful, prominent in the roles their play and standing as examples.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
(Matthew 5:14)

We take on the roles of examples,  of lights, witnesses and testifiers. We are not conformists, but are the “trendsetters”, for lack of a better word – instead of being influenced by what is around us, we influence others and actively make disciples (for Jesus).

It i s because of this role that we must learn to conduct ourselves as women of high value (a price above rubies), of worth, of quality and of substance. This is born out of a consecrated, set-apart life lived in  devotion to God, and shows itself in the fruit of our lives – wisdom, the fruits of the Spirit, and so forth.

 

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
(James 3:17)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
(Galatians 5:22-26)

Scripture describes us as God’s workmanship – we are being molded in order to be used by Him!

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
(Isaiah 64:8)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:8-10)

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
(2 Timothy 2:20-21)

God’s will for us is not to be rough-hewn, but beautiful. We are imperfect, but He is perfecting us so that we can be part of His spotless, wrinkle-less and blemish-less church.

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
(Ephesians 5:26-27)

If this is true in our relationship with God and in the way He is changing and transforming us, this can also be applied in our daily lives and how we present ourselves. Of course, all of us are royal daughters in training.

What are some ways in which we can mature and in which we can further develop as royal daughters in training? Here are some that I thought of:

  1. Deportment – how we behave and carry ourselves (wisdom, integrity, etc.)
  2. Etiquette and Decorum – being sensible, sober, behaving with propriety and wisdom rather than being “silly”, “flirtatious, etc.”
  3. Dress – Humble, ostentatious, respectable, respectful, and so forth. Dressing in a way “that becomes godliness”.
  4. Maturity in how we handle friendships and relationships

And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him.
(1 Samuel 18:14)

Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
(1 Timothy 3:11)

One of my spiritual “mentors”, a dear mother/sister in the Lord I love dearly, is someone who believes in dressing well (appropriately) to honour the people she sees, honor the Lord, and honor her husband. She dresses with the dignity of a lady, and the daughter of a king. In some circumstances, we may dress plainly and humbly, but there really is nothing wrong, in my opinion, in being graceful, feminine, and tasteful.

 

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Misconceptions about Biblical Families

Each and every one of us Christians needd to understand God’s order and design for marriages and families, especially in a world and a church where this is increasingly being lost. We can’t look to society for our model, and we certainly can’t look to celebrities and politicians to be our guides. Our guide is the Holy Spirit, our model, the will of God as revealed in Scripture!

In this series, I will be studying what God defines as a marriages, and what His will is for families in general. I’m just a young, single woman, but I feel this is a topic so vital to the heartbeat our of daily faith and living that it’s worth studying.

The sad thing is, even devoted Christians sometimes be guilty of misunderstanding. I believe that half-truths are as good as untruths! The error comes when we repeat what people tell us the Bible says, and follow fallible human interpretations. This kind of telephone game is pretty dangerous, because in copying the “form” of a commandment and principle, we can easily lose sight of why we hold these convictions, and where they are laid out in Scripture.

Let’s not play a telephone game with the Bible, but really  meditate on Scripture and study it to learn from God Himself. That way, our practices are substantiated, and not only that, they become real and meaningful (not just copies of what someone else preaches and practices).

Take a look at the following teaching. This is from a website critiquing abuses in conservative Christian circles, and yet, this is something that even Christians can mistake as being the ultimate model for a godly home.

Oversimplification is the major problem here. We can easily fall into reducing the Bible into formulas, picking and choosing what we like and emphasizing some truths to the detriment of others. 

I don’t necessarily disagree with the above chart, but I feel it can easily misrepresent Scripture’s teachings on the subject of a godly home!

Here’s how I would rewrite it:

  1. Fathers/Husbands are leaders in the family. Leadership is an opportunity for servanthood (not a hierarchical position), and husbands emulate the perfect example of role of our Messiah Jesus. Husbands love their wives with the love of the cross, a selfless agape love that puts the other before oneself. They provide for their families as is their responsibility. Leaders in the church of God  must be men who have the testimony of a godly family.
  2. Wives submit to their husbands, helping to fulfil their joint responsibilities and callings. They serve the Lord through the high calling of motherhood, carrying their cross daily as disciples of Jesus. They are keepers of the home, and can play many important roles (Proverbs 31) such as in charity, prayer, and making disciples.
  3. Children are welcomed as blessings that ultimately belong to the Lord. Fathers and mothers are responsible for raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, discipling them and ensuring they receive a complete education and are prepared for adulthood.  Children are valued, and to hurt/offend a child is a serious offense. They are taught to obey their parents and are raised to follow in the paths of righteousness
  4. Christians are to live plainly and simply, not ostentatiously. They are to give to the poor and to serve wherever they are. This humble lifestyle is reflected in their dressing, which should also cover their bodies appropriately and present them as children of the Most High Go. They should live a life of sacrificially serving, loving and sharing, not going into debt but giving freely of God’s blessing.
  5. Christians live as lights in the darkness and witnesses to the world. They are not to “go out of the world” or seek to maintain personal holiness in isolation, but into go into all the world and make disciples, empowered by the Holy Spirit. They expect to face opposition, but continue to love and serve according to the example of Jesus. They live quiet, peaceable lives and are instruments of God’s grace and charity.  They look for their reward not in this world and in this life, but in the Kingdom to God and the age to come.

But don’t take my word for it! What does Scripture teach? What is the Holy Spirit instructing you?

Home Skills for Young Children

Home skills are an important part of children’s education. As someone who loves traditional home skills, I was drawn to Waldorf and Montessori methods of early education. In these methods, skills like personal care, helping out in the kitchen, sweeping, etc are integral parts of the curriculum and daily routine.

 

For homeschool families, having children involved in learning to do things about the home has numerous benefits for everyone. Not only will learning stem from life, it helps homeschooling fit into the schedules and routines of running a home.

  1. Start’em young! These skills will benefit children highly in the long run and are appropriate for them to start with, young!
  2. Too much academic learning too soon is detrimental to preschoolers and kindergarteners, they need to be exploring and doing stuff with their hands (besides learning to read and write, which are also really important)
  3. Participating in activities that are relevant to their daily experiences, and meaningful to them, helps them learn effectively. Children learn by observing and imitating!
  4. Young children learn from interacting with you, and doing “chores” together can result in many natural teaching moments.

Here are some ways home skills can benefit your children’s development:

  1. Physical – Fine and gross motor skills help children build coordination ie. pouring water, rolling up carpets, sticking clothes on pegs
  2. Intellectual – problem solving, critical thinking, counting
  3. Language – communication!
  4. Good habits – responsibility, diligence
  5. Emotional – enjoying the rewards of work, the satisfaction of a job well done, the feeling of “belonging” in the family

 

In the Montessori method, the subject of “Practical Life”includes subjects such as “Care of the Environment”, “Care of Self”, and “Grace and Courtesy”. The teaching principles include:

  1. Going from basic to advanced, with a child achieving each goal step by step
  2. Demonstrating step by step clearly so that the child can observe and imitate
  3. Having materials ready for a child to practice with independently

I’d encourage families to have young children involved in the routines of daily life, and encourage them to develop independence as they are ready for it (dressing, etc). A little goes a long way!

 

Womanly Ministries and Vocations

I went out to meet a dear sister in Christ and old friend of mine, who had just taken up a new vocation course of study. Throughout the course of our meal and conversation, we spoke about life paths, and the vocational choices we had made. She then remarked to me that the course she had chosen was something she saw herself doing as a wife and mother, than was adaptable to that role and through which she could earn an income.

That is something that I myself considered when I chose my own path.

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
(Ephesians 4:1-7)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:8-10)

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
(2 Timothy 3:15-17)

When it comes to choosing a vocation, “careers” or skill areas we choose should enable us as young women to fulfill our calling as mothers and “keepers of the home. However, even before that consideration, must come the greatest consideration of all –  God’s calling on our lives.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
(Matthew 16:24)

The call to the cross is irrespective of gender, because we have all sinned equally before God and need salvation, because the cleansing and atoning power of the cross works on every descendant of Adam, male or female, and the same call the cross, the call of discipleship, is imperative.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
(Romans 3:23)

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
(Matthew 19:29)

For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
(Matthew 10:35-40)

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28)

I strongly feel that if we choose a profession, it isn’t about a “career” so much as it is about our life’s work, our vocation and ministry, the good work that God has prepared us and prepared for us to do.

Careers tend to be more about the following priorities

  1. Wealth
  2. Personal satisfaction and fulfillment
  3. Fame and recognition

Contrast that with the value of disciples, who are committed to living simply, quietly, humbly and peacefully, “giving our goods to the poor”  and “working with our own hands to give him who has need”. We find out fulfillment not in wealth, not in satisfaction, not in earthly happiness, but in God – He is our portion, our inheritance, our joy, our lot. Our joy comes from God, and sublime opportunities to serve others and give cheerfully of our time and resources. Finally, when it comes to fame, we are called to not seek the praises of men, but rewards in heaven.

To truly be disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to see whatever employment we find ourselves doing as a way of glorifying God and serving others, whether through being a witness, being a position of influence, having the resources to serve the poor and needy, building the kingdom of God, etc. These are not side-effects that justify our secular careers, but the fruits of living a consecrated life.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
(Galatians 2:20)

In addition, I believe that all our work is godly in nature, and that there really is no such sphere as “secular life” that is separate from our walk with God.

We must know ourselves, and what we would consider to be a womanly occupation and what would not. There are some Christians who feel that the only ministry for woman is homemaking and motherhood, but the Bible clearly states that there is a difference between a married and unmarried woman. 

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
(1 Corinthians 7:8)

But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
(1 Corinthians 7:32-34)

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
(Titus 2:4-5)

Paul clearly refers to married women (with husbands and children) to be keepers at home within the context of the verse, the conclusion we may draw is that since many women will indeed marry and should indeed marry, we should train all our daughters to become keepers of the home, though that is not the status nor primary role they have until marriage and later motherhood. Paul did, from personal experiences, extol the benefits of an unmarried life as is the calling for some women as well, later explaining that there is a singleness and set-apartness (and spiritual fruit, we may assume) that comes from devotion to the things of God.

I feel strongly that women are to be involved in making disciples and serving the poor and needy just as all Jesus’s disciples are called to do. In fact, we are uniquely equipped for this purpose and invaluable to the combined effort in the church. God created Eve because Adam was inadequate and alone. Adam needed Eve, and Eve’s role was essential and important. As “helpmeets”, our work as woman is not excusable and insignificant, it is vital, powerful, long-lasting and essential. 

Some fulfill their womanly calling as mothers, and some in other ways. Take Amy Carmichael, who rescued girls from prostitution and slavery, who became a mother of many, or Florence Nightingale, who left a life of luxury to care for the sick and wounded in the worst conditions. They were full of love and mercy, and there was a profoundly female nature to the work that they did.

 

Nurturing Little Ones in the Home

I honestly feel that the home is a very important place. It is a place of life, of living, of recreation. It is a place of worship, of fellowship, of practicing and sharing our faith in the Messiah Yeshua. My own home has been a place of education, of business, or learning, since childhood. It is a joyous place and that is thanks to my father and my mother.

A mother’s presence in the home set’s it spirit, and I am more convinced than ever that the best place for young children is the home. Where there is a family, there must needs be a home.

I had to spend some months training in a nursery, and every day I witnessed many problems that come about through the modern way of living, especially from the lack of parental guidance in children’s lives. With both parents working, children lack the nurturing influence that only parents can bring in the home, especially in the formation of their character and their earliest attachments.

Children who spend much of their time in full-day childcare settings learn the most from their peers, not from adults. They lack valuable “contact hours” with their parents (who really are the only people who have the responsibility and authority to instill values and encourage good behaviour). There are too many children for each teacher to truly devote to their time too, and the number of children creates behavioral problems and “acting out”. Bullying and the learning of bad behaviours can occur in such settings!

As a result of my experiences, I grew to feel that children so very young (below 5) need not be in a school or institution at all. Even in a small class, I felt that the environment and the number of children made it difficult for me to give my best to each child and focus on their individual needs consistently. There are so many other ways to get children to interact with one another and in groups (even apart from defensive, overprotective and overbearing parents).

Especially in the early years and even in kindergarten, children are best in a secure, nurturing, and stimulating home environment. The process of leaving a home and forming attachments to a teacher is very distressing for a child and completely unnecessary, in my opinion. It was disturbing to see children suffer from a lack of emotional reciprocation or desperately long to spend their day with their parents. Even caring teachers and grandparents were no substitute for what the children wanted – to be with their mother. And there is nothing wrong with that. It’s not unhealthy, undesirable, or – it’s plain natural. If it is possible, it in fact could be the best thing for the child. (Understandably,mothers need time and distractions to keep them in the best emotional states, and I truly understand that, I do. For some, to stay at home is a truly negative and unhealthy predicament. However, I feel this stems from upbringing and societal pressure more often than not.)

Secondly, there is truly nothing at all that a kindergarten, nursery, or preschool provides that cannot be provided for in the home.  With good books (or internet resources), a parent can come to understand holistic child development, nutrition, safety, social interaction, and different methods of teaching and learning. I know, because my mother did a much better job than the nurseries and kindergartens she sent us to (and consequently withdrew us from after a brief and unimpressive period (about 1 1/2 year at the most). She had an excellent understanding of child development and taught us to read, write, and do many things. She also innately understood and practiced the prioritization of play, which many educators can wax lyrical about but few can practice.

There is no secret to what kindergartens do. In fact, from personal experiences as well  as from studying early childhood care and education, what they are supposed to do, they often do very badly. Teachers are underpaid, understaffed, and very constrained by institutional and environmental restrictions, even if they are passionate and committed. Even schools that set out to do the best for children end up “just getting by” with minimal requirements – can they really bring children to their full potential?

The best schools and childcare centres are usually the most expensive – for a reason. And they cannot, ever replace what parents can do for each child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approaches to Home Economics

Screenshot (1)The home was for many people  in history an economic centre, in which goods were produced, consumed and distributed. In fact, the word “economics” literally means “law of the house” in Greek. The home was independent, autonomous, self-sufficient to a point, and very powerful.

However, with the industrial revolution and the modern conveniences, this  has changed.

50s_singer_s

Teachers of home economics traditionally made home sewing a critical part of their curriculum, emphasizing self-sufficiency and resourcefulness for young women. However, with the increasing availability of mass-produced clothing in catalogs and department stores, more and more women preferred buying garments rather than making them. As a result, home economists shifted their attention to consumer education.

RMC Cornell, “Home Sewing”

And that is how “domestic” or “home” science or economics became “consumer sciences”! Our way of life has changed, and not necessarily for the better. It is a well-known fact that convenience foods, for example, are usually extremely unhealthy and loaded with unnecessary additives.

I personally feel that we need to return to a more empowering form of home economics education, one that teaches us to be discerning consumers and also gives us alternatives, such as the eponymous “DIY”. If we are to approach home economics as an area of study, we might as well cover subjects such as cooking from scratch, growing and preserving foods, soapmaking, making clothing, and so forth, skills that require time, effort, and mastery. Of course, not every person needs the same skill, nor can every person access the (now)  hard to obtain materials and tools needed for them, but we can adapt home economics to individual situations, and, indeed, to add on necessary 21st century skills as well.

homestead-heritage-4

 

Secondly, there are two approaches to developing young homemakers – first, the practical method (learning by doing chores, helping one’s mother out). The disadvantages to relying solely on whatever practical experience there is to gain include:

  1. The young woman only learns to follow instructions. She  may not understand why something is being down in a certain way, other than because that is how her mother does it.
  2. The young women may only learn certain aspects of the task, and not be able to complete it independently.
    1. I once spoke to young women who helped her mother cook at home. However, she did not know how to cook herself – she prepared the ingredients, and her mother cooked the meal. She was in her mid-teen years, and unfortunately (at that time) was not being trained to procure food, prepare and store it so as to be able to run her own home one day or relieve her mother in the present.
  3. Should circumstances change, the young women might find herself at a loss – circumstances are impossible to replicate, and a general knowledge of skills will help a young lady learn to adapt to different situations, tools, and tasks (using a vacumn cleaner rather than a broom, or vice-verse, for example, or cleaning a tiled floor rather than a carpeted one.)

I believe we need to approach homemaking not only a specified, individual approach but also from a general approach – learning general skills, studying the “science” and “economics”, exploring differences in practice from home to home, country to country. This will result in a young women being  well-equipped and able to meet any task and challenge.

Thoughts about High School Homeschooling

Adolescence is when the last major leg of development of reached, when a child is on the cusp of adulthood. The role of the parent changes, and yet, it is just as critical as it was before.

 

The adolescent is an emerging adult, growing in independence and responsibility. He/she needs to “come into his own”, that is, to learn his or her place in the world. This requires both the support and encouragement of parents – it is crucial that the home environment gives room for the adolescent to grow, and indeed encourage unique individual growth without being too stifling.

 

As learners, adolescents are capable of becoming independent, of setting learning goals and engage in regular, disciplined, concentrated periods of study. This study must be valued, as it provides the foundations, both academic and intellectual, for future work. Self-regulation is an important skill to develop! Some adolescent homeschoolers will require more support – some will still face learning difficulties – resources must be found for them and if parents cannot help them, tutors can be hired., Some require more social forms of learning – in groups or co-operatives – as these will provide support and motivation. Some, however, are content to plod along on their own and scavenge for answers and resources on their own – this must be encouraged. Necessary technology (computers, books, equipment) should be provided, as well as time, space and quiet (away from younger siblings, for example).

 

Academic learning is essential, but it not everything. Some adolescents suffer from too much intellectual stress, finding themselves needing to learn a great many things but struggling to see why they need to be learned. In fact, book-learning can be stifling and unhealthy. There must always be time for leisure, time to be a young person free from the many stresses of adult life, to enjoy social pursuits on a weekly basis. Leisure time can be directed towards volunteerism, doing good and being socially conscious.

 

In addition, it is important that adolescents are able to apply knowledge, learn actively, and pursue useful interests. Some find their “calling” or “vocation” early on, some later. In any case, it is wise to allow them “real world experience”, both at home and outside.

 

In the home, they can take on measure responsibilities. Be careful of overburdening them with heavy responsibility – they are to learn responsibility, acquire new skills, etc. Give them something they can own, opportunities to take charge and be a leader. They are too young for endless drudgery, however. They must, however, “pull their own weight”, male or female (doing their own laundry, sharing in preparing meals, babysitting, keeping the house clean, etc.) They are certainly capable of it, and the skills taught and gained are infinitely valuable.

 

Vocational opportunities (apprenticeship, volunteering, entrepreneurship) are useful too. Perhaps they can learn trades, start a business, get a job, and explore potential career paths.

 

Ideally, adolescents should be encouraged to continue their education and to develop marketable skills and an area of specialism.

 

A Quiver Full?

I have been heavily involved in the quiverfull movement for quite some time, and my experiences have led me to agree that children are a blessing and that  we don’t need to conform to society’s familial ideals as disciples… but question the motives and practices of the movement in general. As someone who does believe that children are a blessing, and who would welcome every blessing from God, I have to speak out against misuse of this teaching that I have witnessed firsthand and also heard from many children who grew up in quiverfull households.

The Quiverfull movement, in essence, encourages Christians to eschew birth control and  to raise large families, as large as possible. Three main principles form the backbone of this movement:

  • “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis)
  • The concept of trusting in God’s providence
  • Children are a joy/blessing/gift (Psalms 127 and 128)

All these are true and Scriptural. But is the Quiverfull movement right?

 

Jesus taught us to judge teachings by their fruits, and, from what I have learned through the wisdom of Scripture and the plentiful examples of experience, I believe that this movement is flawed and neglects some essential basic Scriptural teachings in favour of others. In addition, men and women’s philosophies have taken away from the purity of Scripture, creating Pharisaical ordinances too heavy for most to bear.

The negative behavior of some people within the movement (especially in the form of child abuse and neglect) has served to diminish its message. After all, you cannot really believe children are a blessing if you mistreat, neglect and abuse them. That would be misusing God’s blessing!

Jesus strongly and absolutely condemned child abuse in all three Synoptic gospels.

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
(Matthew 18:3-6)

The Bible does not teach us that two-child or one-child families are ideal. In fact, there is a huge range of diversity in the Bible, and remember that – conformity to an ideal is last thing we should be thinking of. Abraham had one son (the rest were not through God’s order of marriage), Isaac two sons and Jacob twelve. They raised their children, made mistakes, and had some good and some horrifying results. Yet, God loved them and chose them. The size of one’s family is not indication of one’s godliness or the measure of one’s happiness, prosperity or blessing.

 I fear that the “bottom line”  of the Quiverfull movement has come to mean “just having lots of kids”. This is not the point at all and misses so much of Scriptural instruction on the subject of raising a family.

 

  • The Bible never out rightly condemns birth control, neither should we. “Be fruitful and multiply” is a positive not a negative or exclusive commandment. How one fulfills the commandment is not detailed.  I believe that in some cases it is wise to space between children to protect the health of the mother – that’s good stewardship and responsible (instead of foolhardy) behavior! In some cases it is medically necessary. By heaping condemnation on Christians who use birth control, we behave like the people Jesus condemned who love to judge and criticize others.
  • Children are not pawns. They are not gifts. They don’t belong to parents but to God. Parents are responsible to GOD to raise their children, provide for them, and teach them God’s ways.
  • Children are a commitment. Children are a responsibility.
  • Consecration, discipleship, training – these are all elements of Christian parenthood
  • Children do not exist to bring joy or fulfillment to parents, but glory to God.
  • Selflessness, not selfishness, must be the underlying attitude and motive
  • Children are not trophies, they are not to be “collected” and shown off
  • Trusting God doesn’t mean being irresponsible.
  • God gives FATHERS the responsibility of laboring to provide for their families, mothers with the responsibility of bearing and nurturing them, and both parents the commitment to raising and discipling them (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
  • Labour does not end at birth, but continues throughout one’s life as a parent. Parenting is not easy, it is arduous.
  • Parenthood is a calling of the cross, of love, of unconditional love! Your child is still your child, regardless of their beliefs and whether they conform to your ideals. Too often, parents expect their children to conform to an ideal look – style, taste, dressing, temperament, when God is the one who creates and forms children with unique abilities, strengths, weaknesses and personalities. 

 

Before bringing a child into the world, parent’s should consider wisely their course of action. The Bible teaches to trust, obey, and to not worry unnecessarily but I would like to strongly encourage parents to PLEASE BE RESPONSIBLE!

Pre-Conception Considerations:

  • Understand the long term commitment that is more than necessary – count the cost before carrying the cross
  • Their marriage relationship – is it strong? What is it built on?
  • Their spiritual marriage relationship, with God, dependence and trust
  • Financial responsibilities, resources (God gives the responsibility for provision to fathers)
  • Health of the mother (healthy spacing helps build healthy children)
  • Other children
  • Responsibilities – In the home, nurturing, educating, discipling, etc. Quiverfull families are often unable to cope with day-to-day living and this ideology very often takes a toll and burdens other ie. family members, and older children who should not be saddled with the full responsibilities and duties of parenthood. (I ask again, WHO does God give the responsibility of raising children to??? Their parents!)
  • Long term responsibility – educate, train, equip with skills, etc. (Quiverfull families out-rightly despise college education despite how useful it is to being equipped and skilled in modern society. It is not in their worldview because of its prohibitive cost (multiplied by each child), and this is a sign of irresponsibility and unwillingness to financially cope with the number of children they have or prepare them adequately for life) Some parents require their children to care for other children and consequently have time to even get them to develop any trade skills at all (In contrast, the Amish are highly-skilled, hard-working, and usually successful in their alternative education/economic system)
  • In addition, don’t make your children into puppets, or toys, or experiments. Human life is to big a responsibility to be played with lightly. We don’t need to raise children to fulfil our ideologies and prove our points
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Don’t. Just Don’t.

It’s not that I oppose large families. It’s not that I choose to ignore God’s commandments and reject His blessings. To me, parenting and raising a family is extremely central to our faith as Christians. There are many Christian families, large and small, with dedicated, loving, and supportive parents (like my own). There are quiverfull families who raise and educate their children responsibly. I’m not talking about them, just about the many who don’t. We need to do something because it’s a big problem that we can’t ignore.

 

 

Curating a Home Library

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I love collecting books! Book fairs are amazing places to go to find all kinds of books, and I love learning new things from books. My mother taught us to read early only,and we’ve been devouring books every since.

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Having a home library was a big part of our homeschooling as well, and now I’m going to go through each book section (four shelves in total) to discuss how I organize them

1) The Music Cabinet

In my music cabinet, I keep all things related to my music teaching business, from percussion tools, receipts and book-keeping, and large collections of piano, violin, cello and vocal repertoire, method books, studies etc. All my teaching materials including music magazines, puzzles, flashcards, etc are in there as well.

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 2)  Christian Books

This is an open bookcase. Some of my favourite authors are Art Katz, Dr. Michael Brown, Corrie Ten Boom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Basilea Schlink. We also have Watchman Nee’s series, Wiersbe’s Commentary, and a great many other books.

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 3) Fiction and Nonfiction

There are the two largest bookcases. Due to the pine giving way, the bookshelves can only be set to certain levels, which means not all books of the same kind go together. Thus we organize them by size.

  • The Cookbooks – They take up one and half shelves. Everything from baking, cooking, Asian cooking, canning and preserving, cake decorating, etc.

 

  • History – Biographies, history books, history activities, etc.
  • Homeschooling/Teaching Resources for Children
    • Textbooks and homeschool software
    • Science reference and experiment books
    • Brittanica’s Children’s Encyclopedia (from the Soviet Union Era, but it’s a really nice set!)
    • Art and Craft books
    • Story books/Fiction
    • Christian books (for children)
  • Crafts
      • Sewing
      • Smocking
      • Home decorating/Interior Design
      • Herbs and Herbal Medicines
      • Homesteading

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     A home library is not just about keeping and collecting, it’s about sharing, giving and blessing others. Sometimes I find books that would benefit others more than myself, and I am happy to be able to lend  or give it to them!

     

    Most of these books I have either purchased or have been given as gifts. Quite a few of the treasures were found at highly discounted book sales, or were scoured from secondhand or bargain bins, making them all the more precious!
     

     

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Discipling Young Women

Perhaps you’re an older woman or a mother who seeks to disciple young women in your life, your spiritual daughters.

Firstly, I would encourage you to go back to the Bible. Testimonies and teachings in the form of books have their place, but what young women need first and foremost is an encounter with God, that they may know the Father’s love and hear Jesus’ call to radical discipleship. They need to experience the power of the atonement and redemption He won on the cross, and the call of the cross to be fully committed to Him.  To rely too much on teachings and books may confuse and distract us(God’s word is pure, man’s word is fallible).

Secondly, young women need our prayers. They will face many trials and temptations, and we can encourage and counsel them with wisdom. They will need to become rooted and built up in Him, in order to mature and bear fruits of discipleship.

There is a strong need to go back to the gospels, back to Jesus’ teachings. Learn them, discuss them, apply them, teach them. Meditate upon them and drink His living bread and living water.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
(Matthew 7:24-27)

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
(Matthew 28:18-20)

Discipleship may be formal or informal, regular or intermittent. It is not about gaining control of someone, but rather, bringing them to Jesus. Eventually, they will follow Jesus (not you, you’re just a messenger!).

Whenever you meet, fellowship. Edify and encourage. Pray for one another. Listen to one another. Learn from one another. Counsel each other wisely. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move, and for your eyes to be open to what the Spirit is saying.