"In the absence of Biblical conviction, people will go the way of culture." SBCLast night, a friend sent me a 3 minute video tape from a prominent Christian speaker. This was a small, personal video and so I am keeping the details private so that no one can guess who it is. To protect this woman's reputation, I will not write the part of what she said that began to eat at me. But, basically, what I heard was, "It's a hard culture for teens. It is normal for teens to rebel. Don't be too hard on yourself. God is still in control."
I do not want to be critical of those in the body who are also being used by God. So forgive me if I am reacting too much.
Now, I know that some will rebel--it happened even to Jesus with His disciples--(but He did after all reach the hearts of 11)--but she said, it is normal, you can expect it. She was saying that we are all subject to circumstances and that we have no power over the pull of culture on our children's lives. "Just keep walking with the Lord, even though your children will probably rebel!"
I am not saying that if you are a good parent, you will have perfect children. But if I have a minute to speak about this nationally, I am going to encourage parents to engage, hold on, instruct, love, win, and keep seeking God and His ways, no matter what else the cultural norm is.
Some may ask why I am reacting to this, after all, we cannot say everything we want to in just a few seconds when we are put on the spot.
But perhaps for me, it hit a nerve, because of all the criticism I have received over the years for staying at home with my children--for choosing to give up my time to disciple them, to love and teach them, to put up with the messes, to correct one more attitude, to stay up late, get up early. On interviews, I have been challenged. With publishers, I have been questioned. With church leaders, I have been called extreme. As far as my children are concerned, every battle won in their lives, close relationships with them, were hard fought every step of the way---but it was worth the investment.
So many in the professional world said, "Don't give up your ministry to stay home with children." or "You could write so many more books and do so much more speaking if you would just not expect so much of yourself in your home with your children."
I just want to come out on the side of championing the cause of those moms who are giving up their lives for their children because they think it will make a difference. Some, working at odd jobs at night or giving up a large salary, working 1 or 2 days a week in order to be more engaged with their children. Some living on very limited salaries and with small homes and old cars, because of choosing to seek to spend time with their children at home in order to reach their hearts for Christ.
Some of my best friends, who are wonderful parents, have had children who have gone down he wrong path. But, we are not to take it passively--Jesus told Peter, "Satan has desired to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that when you return you will strengthen the brethren."
Mamas, engaged, instructing, involved, encouraging--not just passive.
Now it is true that we are in difficult times and the culture pulls at our children's hearts and some may go astray. But that doesn't mean all will-and it doesn't mean we shouldn't fight for their hearts, give them a reason to be faithful, seek to make our home the best place they will ever be, so that they will want to be with us and love the God we love and serve.
What about the story of Daniel? Our God wants to use moms, normal moms, to civilize the world through their homes, though their children--(what about Proverbs 8, 9, 31, Titus 2, and on and on.)
Has she met some of these wonderful 20 somethings that came from our homes and love God and love His kingdom work, who, though tested, came out passionate for His kingdom? But these results were not accidental--they were by God's design.
Here, this national figure, who is known to be a Bible study leader, had a perfect opportunity to talk about God's plan of discipleship--of passing on righteousness in every generation. That we are stewards of their hearts, minds, emotions, morals and lives, regardless of the educational option we choose. That God's design was to pass on His purposes and a love for Him in every generation through the home--a mom and dad, responsible for their spiritual and moral instruction.
So, it is not just that she didn't say something more meaningful--but that so many leaders don't say anything meaningful to spur moms on to this high calling.
Yet, again, I saw, that in the absence of Biblical training, instruction, understanding of the word, especially if women are hearing this from Christian "leaders" or not hearing the message of "Do the hard thing." , then they will naturally go the way of culture--give up the responsibility of their children to others to raise, not worry about television, culture, media, peer pressure. It is just the norm for teens to rebel.
Then, this happened this morning.
A sweet mom who is a friend of Clay and my secretary Jennice, asked me to speak for 5-8 minutes today to a very small group of moms--a local mom's club, in our area, who are considering different schooling options for their children. I was a little pressed, not because I didn't want to encourage these moms, but I am leaving for Michigan tomorrow, will be home for 3 days and then leave again for California. I have so much to do. So many things to prepare--packing, arranging for Joy's retreat this weekend; leaving good food for Clay and Joy; getting my notes together and reviewing my talks for this weekend, emails, wash clothes, etc. You know the piles we moms have every day! And so I did not feel like I had the time.......
But, I knew that the Lord wanted me to do this--felt convicted in my heart. I was the homeschooling mom--the homeschooling option--tell about it in 5 minutes or less. Then there was the public school option, classical academy, arts, pre-school, kindergarten, etc. About 10 speakers all together.
The moms who attended were very sweet and open and responsive to the speakers.
However, I was struck by what ignorance or misleading amongst the women who presented--all very concerned women and sincere--but still, from all that I read and research, were misleading. "You can leave your preschoolers here at the high school at 7 and come back and 6 and not have to worry about them all day."
Another, "Look at this big curriculum on math and science. We will give your 3 year old an educational advantage that will serve them the rest of their lives--starting them at 3 in this public arena is the most important foundation for their future."
No, I hate to say I disagree. Science and math at 3 is not the most important thing.
These are some of the personal comments I heard after the talks:
"For those of you who are tired of your children bothering you all day, let us give you a break. We will make sure these children learn to stay on their mats, but we won't interfere with them too much."
"Some moms are just not children types and are not gifted to be able to teach or discipline their children."
"I am just not the type to stay home and spend time with children. My gifts are better used with adults. I wouldn't know what to do anyway."
Hogwash! (I am sorry, I know this is too strong a word and someone reading this will get mad at me for th is.)
I was not a "natural" mom--I had never even changed a diaper. I am allergic to housework. Didn't know what to do all day with my children--but then I kept reading the Bible and knew that the Holy Spirit was telling me that I was responsible to whisper the secrets of the Kingdom of God into the lives, minds hearts of my children.
Now I am not talking about educational choices, as I trust God to work in a number of different ways, according to each family and each area of the world. Each country and each family and region has a different puzzle to solve. (Though, it was my own personal Biblical convictions that led me to homeschool and I love it and am passionate about it to anyone who wants to hear!)
But, I am talking about responsibility---we are responsible to direct our children's lives. We are called to give up our lives, as Jesus gave up His life for us, for the well being of training, loving and preparing our children for life--eternal life. Nothing great was ever accomplished without great sacrifice!"
Has anyone ever read the verse, "Woe to the one who causes the least of these little ones to stumble. It would be worse for him than if a millstone was hung around his neck and he was thrown into the deepest part of the sea."
Jesus had a pretty strong opinion about what we would face if we willingly put our children in harm's way--he said that little children were what the kingdom was made of--we cannot be a mature Christian and get rid of the "burden" of having children by giving the training of them to others--can't be spiritual and ignore the responsibility of our children's souls.
But, in the end, I was refreshed or maybe re-educated as to what was going on out there in the world. Women are not hearing that choices have consequences--that their children's hearts, minds, morals and future is dependent on the vision and faithfulness of mothers in this generation.
"What does it profit a mom to gain the whole world, and lose their children's soul?" (paraphrase, mine.)
They are not hearing that if mother's do not take initiative now to be personally responsible for their children, there will not be a future generation of adults with excellent character, Biblical convictions, leadership qualities--and children who will have learned that family is important, marriage is of great value to God and that we are responsible for the world hearing the truth in our generation.
As God said to Isaiah, "Who will I send." Let the response be, "Send me."
Every year about this time, I begin to pray about and consider, "Lord, when do you think Clay and I should retire from these mom's conferences? I am a little tired and getting older and traveling is not as easy as it used to be. I would like to stay home more--keep my children home with me. Maybe women have heard these messages and know your Biblical design."
And then something like this happens to wake me up! How can I go to heaven and look Jesus in the face unless I take responsibility for what I know? How can I leave these sweet moms to the wolves of culture? I must redouble my efforts to speak, write, teach, train, and give everything I have, for the sake of Christ's cause and for the sake of the next generation.
And so I gave away almost all the books I brought--even though very few women came by my table. I want to get these messages in the hands of everyone I can.
Will you help me?
Invite moms to the mom's conferences where they will hear and be refreshed in their divine call as a mom. mom Heart Conferences 2010
Give away our books to moms, to leaders, to moms of babies. Help us get the word out in whatever ways the Holy Spirit brings to your mind. Connect your friends in some way to our website, blogs, and those other blogs and websites that promote a Biblical, gracious, purposeful, intentional instruction for Mom's to live a grace-filled, but spiritually purposeful life.
Pray for God to raise up women leaders who have a heart in the grand arena of the world who will represent these views. Encourage and pray for bloggers, writers, leaders who lead groups along the lines of these Biblical beliefs. Support the ministries and organizations financially that seek to get these messages out.
It is not God's will for us to be consumers of great books, messages, blogs. It is His will that we become producers, and give back what we ourselves have been given.
I will do my share to keep writing and speaking and giving out books as long as He opens doors for me to do so.
What will you do?
If you know these Biblical secrets, He will hold you responsible for doing what you can to help, to encourage, to instruct and pray for other moms, whose children need to be trained for His kingdom.
So now, I am "fired up" to go into the rest of these conferences boldly, enthusiastically, with the truth--to teach Biblical principles--until I go to see Him face to face. He has children on His mind. I want Him to be pleased with my life, because I have children on my mind, too.
Please pray for our health, protection, guidance, strength and wisdom, as we seek to help as many families and moms in the months ahead.
Thanks for letting me vent! Forgive me if I have offended anyone--it is not my heart to do so unnecessarily. God's grace and peace to you.