Unreligous and Intentional

4 days! Only four more days before our trip begins. We’ll fly into Florida Friday and set sail for eight whole days on Saturday. I am so excited because I know what’s ahead. Time alone with Chris, without the boys, and so much fun!! Our last date was when we saw Hunger Games in the theater, so we could really use the time alone together. We have been busy preparing and trying to work on last minutes issues with the house that need fixing. The Kansas Grandparents will stay with the 2 younger boys and my parents in Florida will keep my oldest with them. So because we’ll have Grandparents in and out of my house for a week and a half I am obsessed with making my home nice. They’ll sleep at their house with the boys, keeping them in my husband’s childhood bedroom, but come to our house during the day because I have food and school prepared for them.

I have noticed while making preparations, that I am a bit of a perfectionist. I have been called that before, but it pissed me off. Isn’t everyone a perfectionist? Well apparently not. Yesterday I had a full blown panic attack after I dropped three tortilla bowls and they broke. I had the full ‘shebang’ complete with the feeling of having a heart attack. Once it was over, I realized that I have been so concerned with my inlaws thinking I am a good housekeeper that it’s taking years off my life. I could spend the rest of my life cleaning this house and it will never be clean enough.

In the afternoon, when we finish school, the boys go out into the big backyard and I clean and do laundry and clean and make dinner and clean my home. And I realized that while I don’t want to be a slob, I don’t want to waste my life cleaning my house. I don’t want to be so concerned with making everything perfect. Because it’s just an internal need for control anyway- any obsessive behavior whether it’s dieting, cleaning, working too much- none of it is as important as the damage I am doing by modeling this behavior to my boys. I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to read to the kids more. I want to do book fairs with Chris and the kids (we have decided to make this a family business, once hubby realized how much money was in it and I told him I would need to hire help), I want to homestead WITH the kids in the afternoon, learning how to garden and farm along with them. I want to be present in my life.

When Chris and I lived in Gainesville we had a nice little life, although he worked in another city and it was too much of a strain on all of us, including our bank account. But I didn’t have a yard so we spent the afternoon at the gym and with friends, from the gym and from Church. One of the first items on our list of things to do once we moved here, was to find a home in a church and make friends. And yes, while I agree that those things are important, I am enjoying my family, and other than the cleaning I am enjoying my home. The kids have made friends with two other homeschooled family’s kids and they went to VBS and loved it, so we’ll definitely get them involved in Church and homeschool groups when we come home.

For the first time in years we are studying the Bible as a family and I see a fresh revelation of the Lord in them. They will not simply “pick up” a relationship with the Lord from watching me and Chris, like I previously thought. The Lord is very clear in the written Word about raising children and His mandate to intentionally train them up in His ways (Prov. 22:6), to hide the word in their hearts, and that left to themselves a child will bring his mother to shame. Having written that, I want to share that modeling the behavior is important as well and the completion of raising our children to be the straight arrows into our future. But, I’ll share more about that later in the blog entry. I read recently an interview with Elizabeth Elliott ( woman, author and speaker on women’s issues) and here’s what she had to say about how she was brought up:

“There were six of us children. I asked the others and none of us ever remember challenging our parents’ authority in our teen years. Our lives were so shaped before that there were no problems. We grew up in the Great Depression in a very modest home on a very modest salary. Often my father would call home in the afternoon and announce that dinner guests were coming home that night. I have the guest book from our home. I have 42 different missionaries that came to our home at that time.” The interviewer claimed that she made raising children sound easy, to which she replied, “not easy, just simple”.

Now, Chris and I are not a religious family. We don’t attend a Church because we are pieces of a living building. We are the Church, We are stones and Christ is our Cornerstone. We are living by His life with every heartbeat. He is in there and has changed who we are as He we are in Him also. That changes a person. It is very simple and you don’t need any fancy theology and philosophy speak to make it work. When He reveals Himself to one, it’s extremely simple. I have never been more reliant, in love with, and seeing Him in my struggles than I am now- and it’s because Chris and I are aware that we are no longer surrounded by Christians who share Christ with us. Not info about Him, or how He can make our lives better, but we shared and exchanged expressions of an indwelling Lord. We miss that. We are doing this as a family and are extremely intentional about it. Our family is a picture of a family of Christ. and the Body begins with family. If the family is not healthy it affects the Body of Christ. And you don’t have to live in the same city as others to be a part of the Body as Christ. We are all connected in Him and by Him. We are all Brothers and Sisters, intertwined and woven together and some of the most “spiritual” people I know don’t even understand this. These are things that Chris and I believe and we only came to know these things because workers taught us Christ. For six months we(Chris and I) were led by church planters who helped birth a group in Gainesville, Florida. And I learned that I am a member of the Body of Christ because of who He is and what He did. I learned this because we were preached nothing but Christ, we were taught nothing but Christ, we were immersed in Him. That is how I plan to teach my children about who they are in Him. I don’t want to show them how to live unreligously and then leave it at that. I don’t want to have them rehearse any one practice or any one verse over and over so that it becomes a religous ritual. They don’t need to chant Scriptures if they don’t want to, but usually they’ll find one that really appeals to them and have me write it on an index card so they can keep it with them. That’s a sign to me that Christ is working in their hearts.

So as I sweep, vacuum, scrub and sweep some more, I am not really doing the deeds that are most important. While I do believe that the Lord wants me to keep a clean house for our health and our benefit, it has no effect on our relationship. I actually had a panic attack over a dropped tortilla, how tight am I wound? How is that showing my children that Christ is living inside of me and He is in control? It’s not. Had I showed patience and even laughed at my mistake I would have showed them that mistakes like this are not worth getting upset about. I am so grateful Chris was home to take me into our room and help me calm down. He is such a gift.

If we just “show” our kids how to act, they don’t get the teaching behind it. And God is clear that the teaching is important. If we teach Christ, but not show them how we live by Christ’s life, they end up with dry religion as they know about Him, but don’t get the chance to express Him with us, their parents. It’s a wonderful token to be entrusted with their hearts. I hope today you enjoy the time you have with your children and that Christ may be revealed as you love them.

Thanks for reading!

Love,

Jackie

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