Sowing while Suffering | Bitter Waters

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Do you live with chronic pain?  Perhaps you have a child who has strayed from the Lord.  Or maybe you are looking at that mortgage payment that is now at three months past due and there are no clients for your commission-only husband.  When does suffering move from visiting us as a result of our mistakes, to visiting us because it’s God’s gift?

Born with Cerebral Palsy, my precious husband has a saying, often repeated in our home.

“Adversity is my tutor”.

Why is it that we tend to be more in tune to God’s voice when we are facing storms rather than when the sun is shining?

The Israelites were more than happy to follow Moses out of Egypt, their place of bondage and suffering, when the Lord delivered them.  However, after 3 days of travel, with no fresh water or food in sight, the people began to grumble.

Exodus 15:22-26

 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah.  So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.

There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them. And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

I have a friend, one of the godliest women I have ever met, who, like my husband, carries a daily cross of suffering. Her name is Melana (Hunt) Monroe. She is  daughter of Prayer Titan, and author of the classic book, The Mind of Christ, T.W. Hunt.  Her father passed away in 2014 leaving a legacy of prayer and faith behind him.  Currently, God is writing a powerful story of faith and courage through the Monroe family as they face unbelievable challenges. In a nutshell, thanks to technological advances, four of her six adult children have been diagnosed with a gene which causes stomach cancer.  Each one must have their stomachs surgically removed in order to save their lives and drastically increase their odds for living a long healthy life.  Melana, like her father, is a prayer warrior for her children and the spiritual fruit in her life is transformative.  I have had the special honor of sitting under her teaching and watching how these trials have given her unbelievable spiritual vision and focus. Her youngest daughter, Chesney, recently shared a quote by theologian John Calvin in her blog post https://livingstomachless.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/through-pain-comes-joy/

  “You must submit to supreme suffering in order to discover the completion of joy.”

Melana’s prayer life models for me what sowing while suffering looks like.  As another daughter, Katie, faces an upcoming surgery, Melana lives on her knees, praying through every detail.  God is using the faith legacy of her father, to teach others how to sow with vision, even during times of suffering.

As Moses threw the tree God showed him, into the bitter waters of Marah and the waters became sweet, I pray that the Lord will show me how to reach out in faith for the tree of life, praying and believing…even during times of suffering.

 

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Sowing with Vision | Raising Sons

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Today is a very special day.  Our first born son turns 21.  There is something very significant when one reaches this milestone.  Not only is it a milestone for him, but it’s a milestone for us as well.  Our son Cameron, is one of the eight reasons why this blog was started in the first place.  His life is a testimony to God’s faithfulness when you keep sowing with vision.

You see, he was my strong-willed child.

https://sowwithvision.com/2016/02/01/the-strong-willed-child/ .

And now, at 6’4″ tall, he is a full grown man, who both loves Jesus and family with all his heart.

I can’t help but tear up….

After years of constant movement and more energy than could ever be explained, now he is pouring his life into young kids.  Mentoring and shepherding them weekly, Cameron is more than a piano instructor, he’s also a life coach.  By rewarding his students each week for their bible reading, listening skills, and practice, he understands the value of teaching the whole child ;  the tangibles and the intangibles.   The discipline and habits he has built in are an inspiration to me daily as I listen in to his lessons from my kitchen sink.  I’m constantly challenged by him, without him even knowing, to reach higher.  Now at 21, he has met the 10,000 hour rule in his field of study, piano.   In the book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. He continues to sow in his field of study, while also teaching others.

As a mom, watching the Lord move through him, encourages and inspires me as I pour into the younger kids, and to  keep sowing with vision. Hosea 10:12

I encourage you today…to keep pouring out your life for your family.  You won’t ever regret it.

Happy 21st birthday Cameron True!

You are Loved

 

Knowing That Momma!

Ever wonder why that mom of many who calls you her friend, won’t return your phone calls? Maybe she is the friend who keeps cancelling on you after sending in her RSVP to your child’s birthday party. Does she have your child’s shoes in her home and you just can’t figure out why she won’t return them to you? Or maybe you have already hosted her and her family in your home, but she never reciprocates the offer and you just can’t figure out why. I wrote this article five years ago when I had 7 kids living in my home. As season’s change and children grow, we can easily jump to the wrong conclusion when “that family” skips church, or is inconsistent in friendship. This is from my heart, my world, but it also may be you, or someone you love.

IF YOU WANT TO BE MY FRIEND

 frazzled mom

Know that…

 I will disappoint you.

I don’t see every text message – sometimes my kids take my phone and read it before I see it and your message never makes it to me

I have 10,000 emails in my inbox. I scan daily for you, to see if you tried to ask me something or pass on a good deal, but if I don’t hit “reply” it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I may have seen it on my phone and haven’t yet figured out how to forward or reply from the Android. I still love you and want you to email.

When your child visits our home, If I hand them a broom, a lawn mower, or a bottle of Windex, and ask them to help us clean, it’s not so I have free help (though that is a perk to being your friend J ). I have kingdom work on the brain as they are cleaning and folding our laundry. I promise they will play way more than they fold clothes.

We have two dogs, and we don’t want any more pets.

At least not now.

If your cat has kittens and your pup has puppies, I’m happy to advertise for you and help you find them a home…just not mine. I still love you.

If you send your kids here to play and they leave shoes, jackets, or an article of clothing: I will have no idea which ones are yours or not and I cannot promise you that we will find it. There is a clothing black hole somewhere in our house. I’m not trying to take your things, I’m just overwhelmed. You are free to take anything out of my house you want to compensate.

 

My home phone is a necessary evil. I would cancel it I could, but I can’t. We never answer it, unless a kid happens to pass by. It is old, I won’t replace it. There are 160 voicemails on the phone starting from 10 months ago and now when you call and try to leave a message it says, “The mailbox is full”. I just can’t get to this, so the best way to reach me is email or texting my cell, or just knocking on my front door. If you left me a message on my home phone, I promise you I never heard it. I am not ignoring you, I still love you.

If you send your kids over to my home, they will get love and be watched carefully, however, I have teens and I can’t guarantee that there won’t be a stupid YouTube video on someone’s computer screen or a TV show with a rating you disapprove of. We do have filters on our computers.

I’m one mom, and have been outnumbered 7 times over. I depend on the Holy Spirit to watch my kids and to convict them of sin when my eyes do not catch something. I will love your kids the same.

Because so many children come in and out of my home, I sometimes forget someone is not my child and I may lecture your child or start into one of my “coaching” sessions at any given moment.

I hate chatty phone conversations, but I love you. If you need me, please call me and tell me why you need me. I am a horrible mind reader and do not know how to “read between the lines”. Just tell me, I will listen, and love you, and pray with you right there over the phone.

Please don’t call me if you are just bored and want to chit-chat. I’m not that kind of friend.

If your family invites my family over for dinner, I understand that the typical Southern courtesy is to reciprocate the offer. I REALLY want to do this. I love the IDEA of having people over. I would like to do it frequently. I’m often planning the meal I want to serve you, thinking of seating arrangements for all your kids. But somehow, my family has a calendar that I don’t always have control over and I can’t have your family over like I want. Be patient with me, I’m thinking about you.

 

If I RSVP to attend your shower, birthday party, or special event, and I do not attend barring family emergencies or unexpected hindrance.

I ask you for grace.

 

Because of the nature of our family dynamics, when you send me the invitation two weeks out, we all fully intend to come. Fatigue and work situations cannot always be forecasted and sometimes we have to back out of an RSVP. I think this is sinful, I know how hard you worked to prepare for us. I’m torn between propriety, and loving my husband and honoring him. I will make it up to you one day, I just don’t know how. Please give me grace. I’m praying for your event if we don’t show up.

I WANT you to invite me to your PARTIES, Mary Kay, Young Living, Discovery Toys, Electricity…ALL of IT! I love supporting home based businesses, the best way I support you is through promotion. I am 98% sure I won’t buy anything, even if I really love it. If you just need a warm body in the room and an enthusiastic promoter, I’m your gal. If you are trying to meet a quota, my feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t invite me.

We are a reformed Baptist family, and conservative Republicans. We talk openly about politics and religion in our home. Be forewarned.

I love to talk face to face, if you are busy like me, let’s go a walk together or have coffee or a margarita. I’m not too busy for you.

Please don’t think I’m too busy for friendship. I may be too busy to check voicemail or read all my emails, but that doesn’t mean I’m too busy for friends.   I need you and I love you.

That’s me in a nutshell.

If you still want to be my friend, I’m so BLESSED! I love YOU! Let’s do LUNCH!!!

(This is me, but it may also be you, or someone you know. Take some time today to stop by THAT mom’s home. She’ll be glad you did! )

 

-Erin

RESPECT people who find time for you in their busy schedule, but LOVE people who never look at their schedule when you need them. ~author unknown

An Easter Anthem

This beautiful voice is from my dear sister in Christ, Sara Burt. She’s a pastor’s wife, and truly A Pastor’s Glory. Enjoy this Easter Anthem.

A Pastor's Glory

The mercy and grace bestowed upon us is overwhelming. Tucked deep in the book of Job is a verse revealing the magnitude of God’s mercy in light of our sinfulness.

“I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light” (Job 33:27–28 ESV).

In this passage, Elihu is describing a hypothetical man and his response to God’s great mercy. We relate. We see our testimony in this declaration. Our broken world reeks of sin. Our fleshly natures long to be fed with that which the world offers. We have been tempted and we have fed ourselves. We have taken the gifts of God and perverted them to fulfill our own desires. And yet we are forgiven.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great…

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The Heartbeat

sowwithvision

6:00 am.

The alarm and the toddler both wake me up.  I stumble to the coffee maker and reach for my cell phone to listen to the daily audible Bible, while loading a full dishwasher.

The morning was harried and stressful.  It was the first day back to our weekly homeschool program after a long Christmas break.  Each of my kids arise and are dressing for the day.  Still dark outside, the air was piercingly frigid.  We busily hunted for shoes, jackets, and backpacks while we frantically rushed to pack seven lunches.

7:30 am.

We arrive at our destination and start unloading the van.

As the kids make their way to chapel, I visit with other moms. So far, a normal day for us.  My reluctant toddler decides school isn’t for her today, so I’m dealing with clinging hands, trying to coax her into her room.

My class starts in…

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The Parenting Secret Part Two


 

 

What does it LOOK like to win a child’s heart?

THE OPEN DOOR POLICY

As parents, we’ve always communicated to our kids that we have an open door policy.  It’s not just the standard, “You can tell us anything” policy, it’s more like, when they have an issue that they are processing, or a conflict with a sibling, they need to know that they can come to us and we will help them sort it out, without over-reacting.  Keeping an open door policy means that we are always asking them questions.

How am I doing as a mother or father?  What things do I do that makes you feel the most loved? How would you have handled that particular situation?  What do you think God is teaching our family right now?  Asking questions is a great way to keep those doors of communication wide open, and will keep their tender hearts coming back for more.

RESOLVING CONFLICT

Teaching our kids how to resolve conflict with one another has been one of the most effective ways to winning their hearts.  In a home where ten different personality types live, conflict is unavoidable.  We call our home, the laboratory for life and teach our sons that the way they treat their mother and sisters is the way they will one day treat their wives and daughters. Likewise to our daughters, the way they speak to their father and brothers is the way they will one day speak to their husbands and sons.

That is a sobering thought, but it’s true.

God in His grace has given us His WORD to teach us how to treat people and given us the FAMILY to practice on a daily basis.  Parents have the unique opportunity while their children live under their roof to teach, train, and mentor them in conflict resolution.

 

THE HOT SEAT

There are times when a child sins, and we have found out about it, Joey and I bring them to what we call, “The hot seat”.  The hot seat is where the offender sits, faced by both parents, and the sin is addressed. This is not the norm, we don’t implement the hot seat every time sometime disobeys, but rather, when a child reaches the age of around 12 to 16, and we believe that they need us both in order to “come clean”.  The secret to the success of the hot seat is simple.

  • Maintain a united front
  • Use scripture as your guide
  • Take all the time you need

The goal of the hot seat is confession and repentance.

Sometimes the hot seat lasts for hours, with layers upon layers of deceit and offenses needing to be uprooted.  Sometimes it only takes a few minutes.  The end result has always been, that we win their hearts and build another brick in the wall of their character.

God has given us His word to show us how to love others.  Seek to win your child’s heart and the actions will follow.