Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"Come and See"

 Come and see,” 
He said. 
It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day."
John 1:39

I have been thinking a lot about these 3 words since Tim mentioned them as he taught on Sunday morning at Church.
This is such a beautiful picture of true discipleship: Letting people "come and see" into your life. 
That is what the couple did who discipled me. They invited me into their lives to "come and see". I watched their marriage and their lives. 

That is what a former blogger (Alyssa) did by having enough courage to allow young mothers to "come and see" into her world of raising children.  
I watched how she mothered her children.

It is powerful when we simply invite people into our lives to "come and see". 

It can be dangerous too because, as I say, 
"when you cast a big net... you may pull in some unexpected things". 
Jesus invited ALL to "come and see". 
He still does. 

Because of His heart for the world/lost, He came into contact with betrayers, mockers, and just plain mean people
Yet, He kept discipling and inviting more to "come and see". He didn't let the mean people stop Him from loving and sharing His life.

I want to stay vulnerable. I want to keep loving people all the way to the end. I don't want let evil people rob me of the joys of loving strangers and sharing our lives.

We have had a great summer. We were all ready for baseball to be over. Sports can seriously take over your lives if you aren't careful. We don't want our lives to revolve around sports. That is a tricky thing to keep everything in its right place and continue to keep SEEKING FIRST THE KINGDOM and then all the other things. 

Reece is turning 12 this week!
I'm not sure how I feel about this but I am just so thankful that God gave him to me and for every day I have gotten to be his mother. He is a kind child. I remember when he was a little toddler... another little toddler yanked Reece's paci out of his mouth and put it in his. His mom was so embarrassed and said, "no!". We washed it and gave it back to Reece and then he took it out of his mouth and handed it back to the other little boy. That moment made an impression on me. I knew he was kind. He always has been. God placed that kindness in him, we didn't.  He is such a help to me with the babies. He has weekly babysitting jobs in the neighborhood. Not many people would trust an 11 year old to watch their young children but he is much more mature than most 11 year olds.  He is a leader. 
His name means "ardent" one. We thought that was funny since he was such a laid-back little guy for so long but now we see that it fits him perfectly. He does things RIGHT. He doesn't do things half-heartedly. He is an artist and a hard worker. He works hard at pitching and guitar. He works hard in school. He does NOT like to get less than an A.
He doesn't have any interest in girls or girlfriends. The thought doesn't cross his mind. He is too busy with studying college football players and rankings... and practicing baseball.  He has a beautiful walk with the Lord. When he was still young (maybe 5), we were on a walk and he was looking at the most beautiful full moon at night. I heard him say, "God, you are the best at making stuff."
It was so sincere. Reece loves creation but more than that gives God the glory.
I have always told the children whether they are at Aquarium camp or Zoo camp or wherever to give God the glory. Even if no one else there, acknowledges God as Creator, you do. In your heart or with your mouth. 
Reece does that. His love of creation has helped him know the Creator. 
Reece has *whatever-Tim-has. The thing where you just feel better/safer when he is around. 
He is pure-hearted. I am so thankful to have had him home with me all these years. I don't like to share my children. :) But, they are so gifted that I know God didn't give all their gifts simply for my enjoyment. 
My arrows will one day be shot out into the world for the glory of God. I cherish these days of having them home with me though. I understand God's heart and His Name "Quanna". He wants us all to Himself because of His great love for us. I LOVE being with my children. I love having them home (for now). 
Reece will be playing ball for the local middle school. We are thankful (and surprised) that they are going to let him play as a homeschooler. I think he is the first homeschool kid to play for the public school here. We are very grateful that he is going to have this opportunity. His eye has not yet healed from getting hit. It still has a big knot and bruise. That was one of the scariest days of my life. I am so thankful God spared him from severe injury.
He wanted orange Lego bricks for his birthday to build Neyland Stadium. He is still working on it but this is what he has so far...
I took him (and 3 siblings) to a Braves game on Monday. It was SO MUCH FUN. They went into extra innings and finally won with a homer in the bottom of the 12th inning! We got home after 1 am. But, none of us will ever forget that night. I am all about making memories! 

Here are some extra facts about Reece on his birthday. I want to KNOW each of my children... 
Their individual hearts and personalities.  

1. Favorite Drink: Lemon-Lime Gatorade
2. Favorite Food: Homemade Chicken Casserole
3. Favorite Candy: Starburst
4. Favorite Movie: Napoleon Dynamite and Courageous
5. Favorite TV Show:  ESPN
6. Favorite Sports Team: UT Vols (football)
7. Favorite Place: Neyland Stadium
8. Bible Verse: 1 John 3:20 
(this verse really spoke to him when going through a difficult time in his walk with the Lord)
9. Book: Left Behind Kids
10. Color: Green
11. Car: New Corvette
12. Favorite School Subject: Biology
13. Future profession: MLB Pitcher or Dentist
14. Current Job: Babysitter
15. Favorite Board Game: Life
16. Favorite Bible Character: Paul
17. Favorite Role Model: Papaw Harold (great-grandfather)
18. Favorite Athlete: Peyton Manning
19. Favorite Dessert: Mimi's Banana Pudding
20. Favorite Animal: Komodo Dragon

We will be starting school back next week. I am praying for God to give me NEW STRENGTH. I want to have the same zeal for my younger ones that I had for my older ones.
I am hoping to update school rooms and freshen things up a bit. That will help ME more than them, I think.
I will be spinning a lot of plates this fall. I am SO thankful for my helper, Cindy. She comes once a week to help me with my house and laundry. She is truly like a mom/bff to me. God brought her to me when I had Hope. I couldn't do it all anymore at that point. I prayed for help and God sent her. Then after I had Rhett and crisis after crisis in my life, I prayed for help and God sent Brooke. Those two have been gifts from God. Brooke helped me during some very dark days. I don't see her as much anymore because SHE IS GETTING MARRIED!!! And getting a big girl job!!! Tim gets to perform her wedding ceremony in October. It will be the second babysitter he has gotten to "marry"! He has no credentials other than Jesus and he becomes like a "big brother" to our babysitters. 

I love Tim so much. We got to go away on a lovecation for a couple nights. I loved my time with Tim and the Lord. I got to journal and pray and think straight for a few hours! 
God *seems to be* leading us in a new direction in ministry and we have a lot to pray about.

 Hope made me beautiful for when Daddy got home from work. 
This was a very detailed make-over. 
She is much better with fashion than I am. 
I am so thankful God gave me a daughter. She is going to keep me feminine.

 God is working in Crew's life. Making him brave. He has been afraid of everything (I think he got that from his momma). He asked God to give him a new brave heart and the next day started swimming... NO KIDDING. The day before he was terrified of getting water on his face. I believe God is at work in this child. He is so sweet. He lives a superhero's life. He prayed for God to give him super-powers today during Bible time. 
I believe God is. 
 His sister, on the other hand, has had to be tempered... she is becoming so sweet and beautiful. I am watching God soften her. He is still doing the same in my life. Giving me a submissive spirit that yields to authority. That is of Him... not either of us girls. She made me laugh so hard at the Braves baseball game when she said,
 "Momma, this is the first REAL football game I have ever paid attention to!".
We made it on the jumbo tron. :)

Lately, I have had something on my heart that I wanted to share. 
People ask me a lot about how to teach children the Word. We have had multiple opportunities to share in this area lately. It is a passion of mine and has been since God placed it in my heart and commanded me to do it. 
If you have read my blog for a while, you know I gave my life to Christ in college. He radically changed me from the inside out. Years later, He gave me a godly husband that I DO NOT deserve.
On our honeymoon, God spoke clearly to me that He had a plan for our children.
 "Has not the Lord made them one? 
In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? 
Because he was seeking godly offspring."
Mal 2:15

He gave me the heart of a mother. 
When I had 3 young boys, the Lord really impressed on my heart that it was TIME to begin teaching them. I was so scared. I joke that it was then that God called me to be a missionary to the pygmies. :)
I stayed up late at night looking for curriculums, sources, devotionals, etc. I wanted ANYTHING to cling to/hang on to... to help me. 
After collecting a big pile of books, the Lord gently corrected me and spoke to my heart, 
"I want you to teach them MY WORD."
I said, "I don't know how".
Then I prayed, "God, You are ELOHIM... Creator God. You can give me creativity to teach. You teach me and I will teach them".
He began doing just that. He began to give me ideas I know were from Him.
We began memorizing God's Word together. I had never memorized the Word like that before. I was learning WITH THEM. We were growing together. It took time. Loads of time. It taught me patience along with creativity. 
I begin to feel such joy and purpose. I had never felt more like I was doing what God created me to do than when I was teaching my children the Word. 
I used the Word (almost exclusively) to teach my older 2 boys until they were in 4th grade.
I added Saxon Math and Shirley English but mainly we studied God's Word all day. 
It was beautiful. 
I miss those days. 
My 3rd son had a lot of health problems when he was younger. He had severe asthma and had two very scary episodes that landed us in the hospital. I also had a newborn baby girl. I couldn't be as hands on with the older boys as I had been those few years. 
My spiritual mom told me about Abeka DVDs. I didn't want to use them because I had to drop my pride and say "I can't do it all" but I had no choice. It was evident one human could not do all these things well so we made the switch over to Abeka DVDs. They have been the biggest blessing ever. 
My kids are thriving. And it frees me up to teach them the Word in the afternoons while taking care of the little ones and teaching them the Word in the mornings. 
We try to have "Bible with momma" everyday at 2.
We try to do family Bible Studies once a week where Tim uses the overhead projector to draw pictures and we study together. Our kids love family Bible Study. I do too. It feels like the safest place in the world when Tim is teaching us all the pure Word. 
I am VERY concerned that our culture is getting away from the Word. Our tendency is to grab a devotional or a curriculum. The problem is there are hardly any sound ones out there. Most of them are full of pretty pictures and "high sounding nonsense" written by man. I know that sounds harsh but it is true. Things aren't the way they were when we were young. God's Word is not elevated like it was 30 years ago. Man's Word is elevated above God's Word. 
Children need MORE than the Jesus Story Book Bible. 
That is not the Word of God. 
Neither is Jesus Calling. 
Hear my heart on this one...
 I am not condemning people who use those books (I used to be that girl!) but let's think of it like 
 the spiritual food guide pyramid. 
Wholesome, foods like MILK, VEGETABLES, CLEAN WATER, MEAT, DAILY BREAD need to be the majority of our food intake. 
These devotionals/books written by man would fall into the "candy corn" category of the spiritual food pyramid. Our children cannot grow on candy corn. There is not life in them... no nutrition. It is processed food that our spiritual man begins to crave after so long of eating it. 
The stories are nice and have beautiful poetic language but our children need God's Word as their primary source of spiritual food.
I am concerned that these resources are no longer supplements to the Word. 
They have become SUBSTITUTES.
We are setting the standard for what they will eat for the rest of their lives. I don't want my kids spiritual diet to be devotionals and man-made books. 
I understand the feeling of "I don't know how to teach my kids the Word"... I need a resource!".
I went through all that. I bought SO MANY books. 
Then I realized God, Himself, was going to help me and He wanted me to rely on His Word.
It is a scary feeling that requires faith but without faith it is impossible to please God.
Are all devotionals bad? No. But I bet 9/10 of the newer ones aren't sound. 
That is not being critical. That is REALITY of the times we are living in. 

Why risk it when you can take them straight to the Word?
One day, I went through my book shelves and started throwing books away. I realized that I would never have time to use them all and I wanted to use that time to teach my kids the Word. 
Those books were wearing me out and making me tired! They were not life-giving because there is not life in them. If God was calling me to be my children's teacher. I needed HIS help. This was, afterall, the greatest calling of my life (after being a wife): to teach my children The Word.

 "The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly.
 The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.
But, my child,let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out."
Ecc 12:10-12

Once I got the courage to really TRUST the Word to teach my children... it felt like walking on a tight wire. It was thrilling and exciting. Way more fun than using books and devotions. God would meet with us. We began to see miracles. I began to see FRUIT in my life and the lives of my children... popping up EVERYWHERE like the Garden of Eden.

We would soak in the Word all day long... memorizing passages of Scripture. Using hand motions, toys, candy, chalk boards, art, etc... 
I had to keep it fun. They had to learn how to sit still and learn. 
It wasn't easy. It was hard work. It still is hard work. 
But it is worth it.

Look what happened in the early Church when they got rid of the books...

"Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed."
Acts 19:19,20

Now, I am not comparing Christian devotions to sorcery BUT, look what happened when they got rid of their books! THE WORD OF THE LORD GREW MIGHTILY AND PREVAILED!
They began to see miracles and power. 
There was opposition (no doubt) but the Spirit of God began to move among them.

That is what I want. 

I want the Word of the Lord to GROW and PREVAIL in the lives of my children. How could I ever regret NOT using books instead of the Word? But, I certainly could regret using books instead of the Word and wonder how different my children's lives would be if the Word of God was truly ALIVE AND ACTIVE in them. 
Think of Daniel and his 3 buddies.
They chose NOT to eat what everyone else was eating but to eat "clean". 
People thought they would be unhealthy because of it but listen what it says about them...

"At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.
 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.
 When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar.  The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service.  Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom."
Daniel 1

They didn't care what everyone else was eating. They KNEW this diet would make them stronger. Turns out they were 10 TIMES more capable than the other men. 
This was a physical diet but compare it to a spiritual diet for your children. 
God's Word will make our children healthier and more nourised than ANY other spiritual food out there. Give it time. It will PROVE itself.
It will thoroughly equip your children for every good work God is calling them to.
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were TEENAGERS. They already knew what would make them stronger. 
I want my kids to know that too. 
I feel like I have been their "water purifier" for all these years. (Like when people go to 3rd world countries and install water-treatment systems because the water is so dirty). 
I have been that for my kids because they couldn't protect themselves when they were younger. I tell them now they should know for themselves the difference between clean and dirty water. I have been giving them clean water for all these years. They will have to choose for themselves soon.
I won't be able to protect them forever. 
It has been hard to keep them safe.
It has cost us.
But God has been very clear with me in showing me danger and what to keep them away from. He will do that for you too. Spending time in the Word with them everyday will BENEFIT YOU as a mother. It will give you better spiritual vision. You will be able to see things others can't. Not because you are super-holy but because God's Word gives you better vision.
One time I studied how to grow different kinds of trees mentioned in the Bible.
Palm Trees and Oak Trees mainly.
"The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,"
Ps 92:12
To grow a palm tree, you are to have a constant slow water drip in the roots. The early years are some of the most important years. Otherwise it can grow sideways or crazy and it is almost impossible to correct.
These young years are SO IMPORTANT. 
Your kids need a slow steady stream of the water of the WORD.
It will grow them and renew their minds. 
You may be saying... "I don't have a clue how to teach my kids the Word".
I DIDN'T EITHER. Ask God to show you!
One of the best things He has taught me is to keep it fun.
Use cheeseballs, glow sticks, and hand motions. 
I call myself the "Bible Study Clown".
I try to make it fun any way I can figure out how.
Some days it isn't fun but it is teaching my kids how to sit still and control their bodies.
God's Word had taught my kids how to read, write, think, and most importantly to KNOW JESUS.
Afterall, that is why we have understanding... so that we can know Christ!

"We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding,
so that we may KNOW HIM WHO IS TRUE.
And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life."
1 John 5:20

I don't want to come across as legalistic or harsh. I just want you to know that the best thing I ever did was throw piles of books away and stop reading so many other resources besides Scripture. God showed me my lack of faith in clinging to these things instead of trusting His Word to be ENOUGH.

God will give you everything you need to "spiritually" feed your children. Just like He gave you breast milk when you didn't have it, He can give you the pure milk of the Word to give them but you  have to TRUST HIM.
Ask Him to help you and to empower you.

There is so much power available to you in the Word! It is right at your fingertips. You do not have to use all the other resources. They can't nourish your children.

Try it for 10 days like Daniel did. JUST SEE THE DIFFERENCE FOR YOURSELF.
That is my challenge to you. Try it for 10 days.
Only the Word...

You don't have to be a mom to do this.
Young-single-girl-cutie-pie who may be reading this... TRY IT.
Just see the difference in your life after 10 days.

I love y'all so much.
God's Word is all we need.
You may just start to see mountains and hills burst into song before your very eyes.

 "It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
 You will live in joy and peace.
The mountains and hills will burst into song,
and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
 Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”
Is 55:11-13

Be Blessed~

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