Shot in the Arm

For the past few years my husband and I have attended a homeschooling conference an hour away from home. It has been a wonderful retreat for us! How fulfilling it is to listen to godly speakers, chit chat with many friends and acquaintances, go out to eat several times, and sleep in a hotel with my husband (without the kids :))!! The conference is more of a parenting retreat than a how-to-school-at-home retreat, and has been chock-full of spiritual inspiration. We have come home each year with our hearts stirred, encouraged to ask the Lord to give us all more and more and more of Him and to follow God’s ideas for our children!

I knew I wanted to go to one of Beverly Bradley‘s 2 available seminars. I said to my husband, “Well, it doesn’t really matter which seminar I attend. She always has the same message — JESUS! And Jesus is just exactly what I need to hear right now!” Sure enough, Overcoming the Distractions of Motherhood was all about Jesus.

As a friend from church observed, Beverly has a knack for giving messages that are extremely convicting, but not at all guilt-inducing. I think it simply must be the Holy Spirit at work. In fact, part of Beverley’s message was that God’s correction in our lives is *sweet*! When my course is corrected by God, I feel relieved and closer to Him. This is exactly what our children should feel when we bring correction to them.

The main thing I heard from the Lord during Beverly’s seminar is that my focus has been off with the kids. I have taught them many of the right things, but often for the wrong reasons. I have been giving my children a man-centered worldview, teaching them to do what is right to please others. And when they have not been pleasing to me, I have felt anger and disappointment with them. When I scold them because “I’m just so tired of….(fill in the blank)” I am teaching them that it is all. about. me. Discipline should not be based on my emotion but on God’s ideas. We should be learning to depend on Him, not on ourselves, so that He may be glorified through us. How my perspective is changed when I live life for an audience of One. This course-correcting has been sweet. I just ask the Lord to please continue intervening in my heart on this issue — it seems this is one lesson I tend to forget.

Tedd Tripp, of Shepherding Your Child’s Heart fame, was one of the conference’s main speakers. Mr. Tripp has a fabulous way of elevating normal, everyday issues to being matters of the heart. (Of course, normal and everyday issues ALREADY ARE matters of the heart, I suppose Mr. Tripp simply has the ability to point this reality out to us!)

Again I was convicted by a still, small voice about the way we are raising our children. We have had recent issues with dishonoring attitudes in one of our precious boys. This boy is extremely honoring and sweet to anyone who is not his parents. I remembered back to my own childhood and how this hypocritical nature was my very own: I loved pleasing others by appearing to respect authority, but in my own home I often talked back and thought nasty things of my parents. It suddenly became clear that we have taught our son to please others instead of pleasing God. Thank you Jesus that kids are so pliable. I am thrilled to say that in the few days since we came back, after our confessing our sin to our kids and re-focusing on godly discipline, attitudes are back to being cheerful and loving!! My prayer is that our family will together continue to enjoy God and learn how to glorify Him! One day at a time!

Together my husband and I attended a seminar given by Reb Bradley on “courtship.” Several times over the past few years, I have almost physically felt blinders being lifted off of my eyes as suddenly I see things from a new point of view. Sometimes I feel as though I am on some kind of crazy carnival ride, the Paradigm-Shifter, zipping one part of brain this way, whisking my heart that way, opening my eyes to new things here and there. I can start to feel a little dizzy at times. This was one of those times.

Though I’ve already read I Kissed Dating Good-bye and When God Writes Your Love Story (both highly recommended to any single folks out there), this seminar was focused on giving your children a vision for courtship. Right off the bat, Reb makes very clear that the idea of courtship is a matter of personal liberty. I was pleased to hear him say that he was planning to share with us the biblical and historical models for romance as compared to the modern concept of dating, but that he was not going to make up something and call it God’s prescription.

Reb’s seminar was thought-provoking. He listed the many privileges previously reserved ONLY for marriage that are now socially acceptable in dating or even casual relationships. Because so much that was looked forward to in marriage is now much more readily available, marriage has been cheapened. As mini-marriages and mini-divorces happen without much thought, what was once holy becomes disposable.

Reb suggested many tips for teaching your children about the wonderfulness of marriage, about raising children to truly respect the opposite sex, about teaching daughters to be pure and sons to guard girls’ purity. I don’t have the time or energy to give the seminar justice here, maybe another blog post later! If you have children, and you’ve questioned whether the modern concept of dating really makes sense within a Christian framework, I encourage you to get your hands on the CD set.

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