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Thankful for My QuiverFull!

Grown daughters of QuiverFull families are also known as “Quivering Daughters” in some circles. My daughters and sons grew up with fundamentalist, patriarchal, homeschooling parents. But I wouldn’t describe them as “quivering”. They are arrows going forth into the future, sharp, straight, and true.

Four of the eight children of my Full Quiver are majors (over 18) and this post is dedicated to them. In some respects, I have grown up with them because I have learned so much from them: by their character, by the ways in which they challenged me to re-think my theology.

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My firstborn, Hannah, went away to a conservative Christian college down south. I remember when she came back for her first Christmas break at age 18 with so many opinions, so outspoken, I thought they had turned her into a “feminist”. Even as I corrected her for “disrespecting her father”, for “questioning authority”, something deep inside me admired that she had such freedom and assertiveness.

During her senior year, Hannah took a semester off to participate in medical missions. Nowadays, she is married and in her third year of medical school.

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Daniel is gifted in carpentry and participated in two building related mission trips. He went to Alaska at age 13 with a group of mainly adults and senior citizens and helped build a house for a pastor. And he built a play structure for a Christian school in Nicaragua. Nowadays, Daniel is married and walks in Jesus footsteps in a myriad of ways including working in the carpentry field.

 

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Joanne had her own opinion about fashion since she was 3 .

When she was a young teen, I was very harsh with her. Used to search her drawers and confiscate forbidden tank tops. She also broke all my dating rules. She started sneaking around with a 17 year old boy when she was 14. No matter how much I grounded her, she went right back to it again.

Nowadays, Joanne wears tank tops without condemnation and is happily married to her high school sweetheart (whom I love dearly. He has forgiven me for being “the gestapo”) . She has served on two medical missions in the DR and is finishing up her PA.

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Karen was world class opinionated in High School. When she got accepted to world class Harvard, some homeschooling friends (whose son she liked) spoke to me of their concern that the liberal climate of Harvard would corrupt her. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the most heated discussions around our dinner table involved her political clashes with her conservative parents. She supported Obama (though she wasn’t old enough to vote for him). And I know Karen. Some people would call her a “rebel”. If anyone tells her what to think, she is likely to think the opposite. Her first time home from college, she said “Mom, you are not going to believe it but since I’ve been at Harvard, I’ve become more conservative.”

Karen has expressed a desire for ministry in Asia. Here she is- looking right at home- during a CCC summer leadership training program.


As a YoungLife volunteer in an ethnically diverse school district, here is Karen as camp counselor.

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m excited that all four flying arrows will be headed this way for Thanksgiving. The married three will be accompanied by their spouses.

Although known as “minors”, rest assured that my younger four are not “minor” to me. Pray for me and my husband, that we may receive a second wind and an abundance of God’s grace and mercy so that they can be well launched.

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Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Ps 127:5 (The Message)

 

Indeed, I am blessed!

Become as little children…

Foundational to the recovery of our spiritual inheritance in Christ is that we “become as little children” (Matt 18:3). My children are equally valuable, equally loved, equally respected, and equally heard. God has chosen to adopt us to be co-heirs with Christ and to be conformed to HIS image “that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” Rom 8

Eph 1:18-2:6 talks about “the riches of His glorious inheritance” and goes on to describe how we are (RIGHT NOW-see Eph 2:6) seated with Christ “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (see Eph 1:21).

Doesn’t that mean that God intends for us to be dwelling above earthly “power struggles”? I believe it does, and I believe He will empower me to do that as I become like a little child with HIM, trust HIM completely, and walk hand in hand with HIM throughout each day.

One of the promises for overcomers is: “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Rev. 3:21
That strikes me as intimacy. I can sit in His lap… “as a little child”.

“Shame on You”?

I wrote this for 2hold.wordpress.com but have reservations about publishing it there.  So here it is, set aside for my children in hope that you may understand my heart toward you and how much I hate the “SHAME on YOU” messages you have been subjected to. :(  So sorry my dear ones!  Please don’t allow those messages to stick to you and cause you to stumble!

I have a huge burden to advocate for egalitarian marriage, but I am often completely stumped as to what I can contribute to the conversation???  I can’t identify.  My own “christian” marriage of nearly 30 years has battle scars from many years of husband rule, some porn use, and a couple seasons of adultery and alcohol abuse.  What can I say?  I’m still married- “for better or worse”.  My husband is now porn and alcohol free because I was not willing to continue in the marriage otherwise.

Marg and Kristen have done a very nice job clarifying the power in being ezer-meet help for our husbands.  In 2004, a mission board required counseling and I began a journey of recovery from some traumatic childhood wounds. I cried out to the Lord distressed that my husband was incapable of offering empathy and support (he seemed to be more of an enemy of my recovery than supportive).  God spoke to me quite clearly (though not audibly), “I have not called him to HELP you.  I have called you to HELP him!”   Ezer- lifesaving HELP.

My husband has childhood wounds too.  In a very real sense, he is as handicapped as Ian though you would not know this by looking at him or talking to him.  He was wounded early and deeply and is emotionally handicapped.  The counselor who worked with us  explained that a child emotionally wounded in pre-school can be left with “empathic failure”.

Our 17 year old daughter has asked to attend counseling.  She struggles with toxic guilt/shame.  She is a beautiful, talented, smart, and spiritual young woman.  But if a teacher has a speech about cheating, she automatically feels guilty, even though she has never cheated.  I attribute this to our dysfunctional family, to constant messages of “shame on you”.

As EZER I am, once again, attempting to deal with this issue.  I’m not angry, I’m sitting here with tears rolling down my face, tears of frustration that we never seem to get rid of this, and grief that another generation is being saddled with this baggage :(  Kathy Escobar has a relevent post and prayer: “God, may we let you gather us up and help us believe we are worthy of good things, of love, of freedom.  that we deserve better than we think we do.

The following comes from real life “shame on you” messages.   If you are a praying person, pray for our children.  I hurt for them.

Shame on you:
You are a wuz. shame on you
you have no common sense. shame on you
you failed your road test. shame on you
you play computer. shame on you
you spilled your milk. shame on you
you broke that. shame on you
you lost that. shame on you
you smiled at the wrong time. shame on you
you got tired and cold and whined when I wanted to ski. shame on you
you hurt your ankle and couldn’t hike ten more miles. shame on you
you cost me money. shame on you
you’re wasting time. shame on you
you’re making too much noise. shame on you
you have a deep belly button. shame on you
you bore a female child. shame on you
you were born female. shame on you
you feminist. shame on you
you never ever ever live up to my expectations. shame on you

NO! NOT shame on you!

Grace
Love
Acceptance
Mercy

I’m tired of “shame on you”.
and when I defend the children from the toxic shaming and blaming…
he said its my fault he feels rejected and condemned. He insists I want him to go
He says this is about MY childhood, MY baggage. There is some truth to this- I was blind to the shaming and blaming because it was familiar; Daddy did it too.

No. I don’t want him to go. I want him to STOP with the constant stream of “shame on you”.
I won’t be surprised if he does go, though. “Leaving” and “divorce” come out of his mouth at every conflict. What is in a man’s heart comes out of his mouth. Thus saith the word of the Lord…

So, what does this have to do with egalitarian marriage?  Well instead of Sapphira-like harmony, submission, and agreement unto death,  I  renounce the Sapphira spirit.  I will not lie to the Holy Spirit; I will not follow, nor support, nor make excuses for a husband’s destructive decisions.  Here I stand.

We too have 8 children, 5 daughters and 3 sons. So I was tickled to see the rising stars of this lovely and talented family!

Home-schooled sisters sing to support Santorum

Whether or not Rick Santorum prevails, your family has my vote of confidence!

Timothy saw this on my other blog and enjoyed it so I decided to put it here for you all.

Is Lewis promoting Hierarchy in his “Chronicles of Narnia”?

Not the hierarchy of age, class, gender, power, etc. etc. etc. . .

We have a VERY dog-eared fat copy which contains the entire series. I have read through the entire series out loud twice with different groups of my 8 children when they were in the 8-12 year old range. And several of them have re-read the series on their own.

I don’t find the hierarchy of which Robin Phillips speaks. Quite the opposite. In a prologue to the book “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe”, Lewis’ intended audience is quite clear: his young Goddaughter, Lucy Barfield.

My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C. S. Lewis.

— C.S. Lewis to Lucy Barfield (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

Not coincidentally, in the story, the character Lucy is the youngest of four children, the lowest in the “hierarchy” so to speak.

Yet she is the one who first experiences the Kingdom of Narnia, and she is the one who sees Aslan with the most clarity. And she is also the one who is disbelieved, dismissed, and chastised by the hierarchy of older brothers and sisters,

not to mention betrayed by older brother Edmund who is captivated by the White Witch and his lust for the magical Turkish Delight which never satisfies.

In the final story “The Last Battle”, three of the Pevensie children of the Wardrobe adventure meet the children of other Chronicle adventures in “Aslan’s country” (heaven). One of the four children is not there. Here is what Lewis writes about that:

“My sister Susan,” answered Peter shortly and gravely, “is no longer a friend of Narnia.”
. . .

“Oh, Susan!” said Jill. “She’s interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations. She always was a jolly sight too keen on being grown-up.”

“Grown-up, indeed,” said the Lady Polly. “I wish she would grow up. She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she’ll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age. Her whole idea is to race on to the silliest time of one’s life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can.”

The “hierarchy” of Lewis’ Chronicles is one where children are powerful in the kingdom of Narnia; a kingdom which they can no longer visit once they are past a certain age- until the final journey which has no return. Narnia is a kingdom where children have inspiring, courageous faith and wisdom which- at least in Susan’s case- does not endure into “adulthood”.

I am reminded of Jesus’ words “”Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” Luke 18:17 and “behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.” Luke 13:30. In Narnia, “hierarchy” is upside-down just like it is in the Kingdom of heaven. We must all become as children.

“Let the deacons be the husband of one wife” 1 Tim 3:12 

ONE exception and we err to make a rule that “husband of one wife” is a restriction upon females.

Phoebe provides the exception.
Quoting the old Young’s Literal Translation because I think it conveys respect for Phoebe’s church leadership more than other translations:

 

“And I commend you to Phebe our sister — being a ministrant [DEACON] of the assembly that [is] in Cenchrea –
that ye may receive her in the Lord, as doth become saints, and may assist her in whatever matter she may have need of you — for she also became a leader of many, and of myself.” Romans 16:1-2 YLT

Chains are Broken: Redux

Since coming out of the fog in 2004  some things have become clearer and clearer to me so I want to set the record straight.  When I wrote this apology letter to you, my children, there is still an element of “blaming” the woman for provoking male lust via “immodest dress”.

Nowadays, I think that a Christ-like man should be able to see a woman in the most provocative dress and seductive expression or even in erotic nude porn and not feel lust, but feel sad for her captivity and pain.

And nowadays, I think that girls and women should be able towear a tank top and shorts, or a lovely little evening gown guilt free.  For more on enjoying God’s creation without crossing the line see http://mychainsaregone.org/

Some of my daughters went with me to a “Purity’s Power” seminar by Lisa Bevere on dvd.  She spoke of the “packaging” and had a liberating message against the legalism of hard and fast “clothing rules”.

As I was contemplating this update about how my views have changed since 2004, I also thought of one of my daughters’ favorite books “Redeeming Love”, and how Angel was dressed up like a harlot and paraded in front of a leering crowd, but her modest spirit rose above it and shone with a heavenly glow to that lost crowd.

In “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers, Jonathan escorts Angel and two captive children out of the brothel where the chief pimp had forced her onstage:

“I really must ask, Jonathan.  What were you doing in a place like that?”

He laughed softly and kissed her forehead.  “I don’t really know, my love. . .  It was a strange day, Priss.  Something gnawed at me from noon on.  I couldn’t put my finger on it. . . I simply felt the need to walk. . . I was passing by that place and heard that devil making a speech.  The place was such a ruckus, I went in to hear what he was saying.”

“But why?  You loathe him.”

“I don’t know why.  I just felt compelled.  He was introducing Angel.  It was obscene.  It wasn’t his exact words.  It was his manner, the insinuation.  I can’t explain.  I felt like I was standing in a pagan temple and he was the priest introducing a new temple prostitute.”

“Why didn’t you leave?”

“I thought of it, but every time I did, something told me to wait. Then Angel came out.”

“She is very beautiful,” Priscilla said quietly.

“It wasn’t her beauty that held me, my love.  She was so young, and she walked to the center of that stage with such quiet dignity.  You can’t even imagine it, Priss.  Those men, they were like all the hounds of hell baying at her.  And then she sang.  She was so quiet at first, no one could hear her.  Then the noise died down until the place was silent except for her.”

He felt his throat constrict and tears burned.  “She was singing ‘Rock of Ages’”

Jesus and Women from CPX on Vimeo.

Originally Published November 25, 2008

Yesterday I went to teacher’s conferences and one of Sarah’s teachers- the mother of young children- said that she wanted to just sit and ask questions because my children have turned out so good! She said that we “must be doing parenting right”!

If she only knew…

Anyway, I told my children when we were sitting around the fire and they laughed and laughed! The 16 year old said, “yeah people are so surprised when I tell them how my parents fight and all the stuff that goes on here. They assume that we have this ‘perfect life’” She said if she was an only child she would be totally screwed up. Its because the children work together, support each other.

It occurs to me that they are like a union- organized to negotiate with those holding power over them. So, when I get unreasonable with one of them, the others are right there defending their sibling. At another teacher’s table, I mentioned that Sarah is really enjoying cheerleading with his wife- the coach. This teacher had Joanne too and knows that Joanne always dissed cheerleading and cheerleaders. I told him I was totally shocked that when I was reluctant to let Sarah cheerlead with the skimpy clothes and all, JOANNE came right to her defense and convinced me that I needed to let her do it.

Cheer!

Cheer!

And thank GOD for our firstborn, Hannah! When she was a late teenager, she told me that I need to give the children some money and let them choose some of their own clothes. She said when she was in elementary school (at a private Lutheran School) the other children would tease her and were mean. She thinks its because she was a misfit because I “dressed her up in dead old lady clothes”. Every child of mine since has had that privilege (within tight financial constraints so they are good thrift store and sale shoppers). Here are my older two daughters. Thanks to Hannah’s intervention they overcame their mother’s dumb and dowdy style. :) (see also Body Image- “extreme Mom makeover”? they haven’t done the makeover… yet )

They turned out GOOD- (which is more important than beautiful)

They turned out GOOD- (which is more important than beautiful)

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