Thursday, September 19, 2013

Faith vs. Fear

We recently had a ladies conference at our church.  And to just be real transparent, I didn't want to go.  The reason I didn't want to go isn't spiritual at all, it's really quite fleshly, but I'll still let you in on the secret:  I didn't want to go because I didn't have anybody to BE with!  (My 16 year old daughter was attending, but, of course, she wanted to be with her friends.  And I didn't want to "guilt" her into being with mom.) Finally, after much internal struggling with God, I decided He wanted me to not only go but to ask a newer lady in our church to sit with me.  She had decided (unbeknownst to me) that she wasn't going to go either!  But when I asked her to sit with me, she decided to go as well.  

Anyway, our special speaker this year was Amy Vassak, from Northeast Baptist Church in Danbury, CT, where her husband is the pastor.

She spoke twice to all the ladies and then during some split sessions. Her session on marriage dealt with Faith vs. Fear, something I had already been dealing with in my own life.

Faith vs. Fear is my new "self talk."  Do you talk to yourself?  I unashamedly talk to myself.  Maybe it's an only child thing, I'm not sure.  But I talk to myself quite often.  Now I don't stand in front of the mirror talking to myself like I did when I was a child, and I very seldom answer myself, but I make a habit of talking to myself.  Especially when my thinking is all messed up, which is quite often.

I have been married now for 17 years, and our marriage has not been without its difficulties.  I can choose to worry about where my husband is, what he's doing, who he's with.  OR I can choose to have faith that God will take care of Him, and I can PRAY for my husband.


I am the mother of 9 children ranging in age from 16 to 7 months.  I can choose to worry about my children when they are away from me.  I can worry that they will make wrong choices.  I can worry about what they are doing, who they are with, what they are thinking, whether or not they are safe, etc. OR I can choose to have faith that God will take care of them, and I can PRAY for my children.


Maybe you come from a "model family," but I don't, and I'm not one bit sorry about that because I have learned so many life lessons as a result. Sometimes in my mixed-up, crazy life one or several relationships will get "out-of-sorts."  It's been happening for as long as I can remember.  And usually these relationship struggles get resolved at some point or another.  I have allowed myself to fret and worry about these relationships at different points in my life.  I have lamented the fact that they were not what they should be.  But I am learning that there is only so much one person can do in repairing broken relationships. Relationships take two people. When I have finally given my broken relationships to God, He has taken them and made them into something that I could never have imagined.  I have seen Him do it firsthand!  Why do I worry? Who do I fear?


This is something I struggle with on a daily, if not hourly, basis!  I find my "self talk" times being characterized by Faith or Fear.

FAITH = Praying
FEAR = Worrying

Why don't you start talking to yourself? (Most of us do anyways!) Tell yourself to have Faith and not Fear! Post signs around your house that say "Faith OVER Fear."  Your mind can only think one thought at a time, so make that thought one of Faith and not one of Fear!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Oh, Be Careful!

Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.
Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love.
So be careful little eyes what you see.

There are other verses to that quite familiar children's Sunday school song that involve the ears hearing, hands touching, and feet walking.  After reading an article this morning about teen girls posting sensual pictures of themselves on Facebook, I have been thinking about online media in general all day.  I can't get it out of my mind.

As the mother of 4 sons, one of whom is now nearly 15, I am constantly walking guard around things like internet access, magazines that make their way into our home, television viewing and the like (even sale papers).  It's a battle.  A battle that I am willing to fight for the sake of my boys.

But, what about me?  What do I allow my own self to view via internet, television, books, magazines, etc.? Isn't it just as important that I guard my own eye and ear gate?  

But, it's not just what I allow myself to look at or read.  It's also what I allow myself to type or say.  As a mother of three teenagers and six more coming behind them, I am well aware of some certain facts. Teenagers like to communicate with each other all of the time.  More so now than when I was a teenager, I think.  I didn't even want to talk much on the phone to my friends.  Whatever I needed to say to them could usually wait until I saw them the next day at school or church or an activity.  But nowadays, our teens want to be constantly connected to one another.  And I really don't like it all that much.

There's something about not being face to face with someone that empowers us.  We get  bold.  We say things on the phone we would never say in person.  And we TYPE things in text messages and on the computer that we would never dream of saying over the phone, let alone face to face.  It's frightening to me.

I have a Facebook account, but my children do not.  Neither does my husband.  Anyone they want to be friends with will be added to my account.  And we keep strict guidelines around our Facebook Newsfeed. We have hundreds of friends, but many of them are hidden.  If someone is constantly critical, we hide them. If someone shares opinions that my children are not ready to see or that are simply depressing, we hide them.  If someone uses foul language, we hide them.  If someone posts an inappropriate picture, we hide them.  Do you get the idea? My Facebook feed is largely coupons, blogs, family and a few friends.  That's it. Everyone else is hidden!

I have seen wives openly criticize their husbands on Facebook.  I have seen people defame someone else's character.  I have seen vulgarity.  Why do we allow ourselves to be an open book for the entire world to see?  Where is our sense of decency as a nation? What has happened to us?  We live in an "everybody-needs-to-know-everything" society, and I think things have gotten out of control.  But it's our own faults.  It starts with me.  

If I'm having a bad day, no posting unless it's positive.  If'I hear that somebody did something unthinkable, no posting about it.  Maybe I did have a fight with my husband.  Maybe my kids are being rotten.  Maybe so-and-so did something terrible.  Maybe my church has a flaw.  Maybe my neighbor did this or that.  Some things should still be private.  Somebody needs to teach our children what is public and what is private.  Just because we CAN, doesn't mean we SHOULD.

Since my children are getting older, I have really begun to analyze what I do, why I do it, and if it would make me proud to see my children doing it as well.

 First Day of School
Grades:  11th, 10th, 8th, 6th, 4th, 2nd, K5