Sunday, August 27, 2006

"A friend of mine once said his greatest desire is to create something beautiful and lasting. That stuck with me. I want to create a beautiful and lasting marriage with a man, and with that man I want to bear and rear children, which are the most exquisite and eternal creations we humans can take part in fashioning. Architects design buildings that will someday fall down, programmers construct computer software that will eventually be obsolete—but fathers and mothers create and cultivate souls that will never die. How wonderful to experience just an inkling of what God feels as our Father."

excerpt from "The Largest Career of All" by Bethany Patchin in Touchstone Magazine.

http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=13-04-015-v

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

By William Ross Wallace, 1819-1881

"Blessings on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace,
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy's the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mother's first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow--
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Woman, how divine your mission
Here upon our natal sod!
Keep, oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky--
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Preparing for Motherhood

This is part-two of my thoughts on motherhood that was sparked by a conversation over at the 360 blog.

Educated at a prestigious university? Check. Prepared to be a wife and mom? Um, not quite. Brains do not equal thriving motherhood. Biblically, it is God’s will for most of us to marry and have kiddos, but for so long I focused on just “me and the Lord” that I didn’t prepare myself as well as I could have. There are things that I wish I had known or worked on before I became a mom. This post is an attempt to pass on a little encouragement to those of you that are not yet in the mom years. It is not the Gospel, so faithful Christians can disagree with what I am about to write--it is just a recommendation. It also is not my final opinion on the matter, but just the scratchings of one stint at the computer during one of my boys’ naptimes.

For my first “Preparing for Motherhood” post, I wanted to share a few thoughts about money.

Get out of debt or stay out of debt.

Many moms say that finances are the reason that they have to work. One of my really good friends from high school got her law degree after her time at UVa and worked as a lawyer for a time before delivering her first baby over two months premature. She took some maternity leave just afterwards, but had to leave her preemie in the NICU to go back to work in order to save some maternity leave for when he was released from the hospital. She was up to her eyeballs in student loan debt and would’ve loved to stay home but felt trapped.

The same problem comes with any debt (car loans, credit cards, home equity loans, even mortgages that are too big). Debt can trap a young couple and money problems are the #1 cause of divorce in America today. Similarly, as a single, you are uniquely positioned to economize and save, providing a solid foundation for whatever God may have planned for you. In several recent articles in Boundless, they’ve talked about single women and money (see articles here, here, and here) and really made me think, In either case—married or single--if you can’t afford it (i.e. pay for it with cash today), don’t buy it! As Will Rogers said, "Too many people spend money they have not earned, to buy things they do not want, to impress people they don't even like."

Live on one income now.

If married, budget so that you are already living on just your husband’s income. If you learn now the discipline of living on one income, it won’t be a shock to do so later. As a bonus, by saving the money that you make now, you’ll have an extra big cushion for when you are at home.

Start investing while you are young.

If you are single, use this season in your life to learn to live on less than you make and pile money into savings.

If you invest just $100 a month (which is just eating out or cable money for many people) from age 20-60 in a good growth stock mutual fund earning 12% you will have $1,185,782. Wow! Compounding interest and leaving the money invested over a long time worked in your favor to set you up comfortably for retirement and free you to use your wealth to God’s glory. The government certainly isn’t going to do it for you (who knows if Social Security will even be around when we retire).

Count the cost.

For those of you that are married and thinking that you can’t give up your income, consider the actual net income generated by your job. There are many excellent articles on this out there. It sometimes boils down to the fact that the wife’s income is really just to pay for daycare (so sad) and the higher tax bracket.

Realize that it is all God’s anyway.

The One who clothes the lilies of the field will even more so provide for his people (Matthew 6:28). Chinese Christians actually pray for American Christianss that we may be able to withstand the temptation and trial of prosperity without abandoning our Lord. Start now to tithe to your local church and give consistently to other Kingdom work above and beyond your regular tithe. Luis Cataldo used to say that some of us would be called to serve the Lord in full time ministry. Others would be called to make a good income and live on only half of it to give the rest away for ministry.

Well, William just woke up and so that is all for now.

Motherhood questions

Over at the 360 blog, we have be discussing the merits of motherhood and Veronica shared with stark honesty about her journey. All of this has made me think back over what I have experienced and learned in the past few years, and I wanted to answer some of the questions that I mentioned in my comments to Vern's post.
I have come to see the value of motherhood as both a sanctifying work in my life and as a service to the Lord and my family. A few verses that have strengthened me for this calling:
Titus 2:4-5 Then they can train 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.
(Tells me what I should be doing and learning.)
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(Motherhood is a daily laying down of my life in service to my Lord as He has called me to serve this family.)
Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.
(God ordained families and blesses them as the primary means for the growth of his Kingdom. What better chance for evangelism do I have than with the 3 little ones that He has placed in my care? The family is the most intensive, most real "small group" out there. It is my daily opportunity to show them Him by living out the Gospel where they can watch and learn.)

The world and many in the church have denigrated motherhood and treat it as little more than babysitting. It is so much more! As a mom, you shape the character of eternal souls that one day, Lord willing, will worship with you face to face before the Creator.
I have really struggled with the value of what I am doing because I have always been one to worry what other people think of me. Even in my mostly-Christian circle of friends and acquiantances, I feel isolated in my view of the sacredness of this calling. Below are a few articles that have been like water to my thirsting soul--refreshing me with God's perspective and reminding me to seek His commendation above all others.
  • I Want to Be a Mom by Bethany Patchin--a general apologetic for motherhood. This one is by one of my favorite columnists.
  • Finding the Center--A follow up article by Bethany Patchin Torode after the theory of motherhood becomes a reality upon the birth of her firstborn son.
  • Motherhood on Trial by Megan Basham--if you only read one article, let it be this one. It follows the author's journey as she faced motherhood and also provides commentary on society's views on motherhood and contrasts it with God's.
  • How Mothering Makes More of Us by Jenny Schroedel--A more philosophical look at motherhood. This one shaped much of my thought on how dying to self in motherhood becomes an opportinity for growth and sanctification.
  • If You Want it All, You Need a Plan By Candace Watters--This one is written to young college age or professional women. This is one that I wish we all could've read and talked about at 360.
  • My Inner Mommy War by Heather Koerner is not my favorite one, but it may speak to your situation. It talks about the author's struggle with giving up her job because it would mean dependence on her husband.
  • This last one (Confessions of a Teenage Mom) is on the must-read list too. It is also by Bethany Torode and gives a Biblical view of children, love, marriage, and sex.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Motherhood quote

"To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. "
~ G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Article Roundup

To get this new blog going, I want to link to a few articles that I have had bookmarked for a while, waiting for me to piece through them.

Don’t Control the Remote--The first article is by Spunkyhomeschool and is about TV. It is a short article, but gets at the heart of why I’m glad that we threw our TV away. It is one of those articles that I read and think, “Yeah, this is what I think too….I just never would’ve been able to explain it.”

There are TVs in all of the nursery’s in our church and it bothers me. My boys are young and I hear otherwise solid parents rave about the positive effects of Baby Einstein videos and the like. To them Spunky says:

“The sad reality is that the shows may be innocent or "educational" when they are little but as they grow up so do their tastes. Barney may satisfy Jr. when he's five but when he's fifteen he is going to want to watch something a little more attractive than a purple dinosaur. The problem is that his habits have been established and his appetite to be entertained has been satisfied for so many years he doesn't know what to do with himself.”

The Youth Group Question—This one is from Spunky too. As the wife of a former youth pastor, this one is especially relevant to me. Surprisingly, Joe would probably agree with some of her points, even if not with her conclusion. It definitely made me think. One dead-on quotation is:

“Sally Carkston said in a conference I attended, "In the absence of biblical conviction you will go the way of culture."”

The Hearts of my Children--Last one for tonight, from Tim Challies on how he views the state of his children’s souls. Are they saved? Should he be treating them as if they are? Unsaved? Should he be explaining the gospel to them or acting as if they already believe? It is a well thought-out article (as I have always found his writing to be so far). Highlight quote:

“It is entirely possible that one or more of them have already been saved. But I do not assume this to be the case. Rather, I assume that my children continue to worship idols until I see them faithfully and diligently serving God. It seems to me that the task of a Christian parent is to seek to guide children from idols to God. It is to understand that your children will worship something and to shepherd them "as a creature who worships, pointing [them] to the One who alone is worthy of worship." This is the task I have undertaken.”

On a completely different note, I wish I could post the pictures that I took tonight. The lighting as the sun went down was breathtaking--a pink sky cast a red glow on everything and the glimmer of fading sunlight transformed our yard into this beautiful dreamlike fairy land. I doubt that the pictures could even capture it, but I tried. Unfortunately, our USB is still acting up.

Me



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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Transfering

I'm gonna start blogging here instead of at bloglines. I'll move my posts soon. Until then, I'm still blogging there.