5 Reasons I Want My Daughters To Watch Frozen

Spoiler Alert!! There will be many plot spoilers in this article. Read at your own risk.

1. Conceal, Don’t Feel, Don’t Let It Show— Elsa’s parents in not knowing how to deal with her abilities and differences told her to hide them. They were told that fear is what would be a danger for Elsa, but instead of teaching her to deal with her differences they told her she must suppress them. They created the very fear that would be a danger to her. She was afraid to feel, afraid of herself.  If there is anything I have learned over the last year it is that suppressing feelings and emotions doesn’t make them go away. They will come out eventually. We have to learn to address the issues in our life head on and learn how to work out our differences. If we don’t they will come bursting forth in ways we don’t expect with unintended consequences. As a mom, I want to teach my daughters to deal with their emotions in a scriptural and healthy way. They don’t need to bottle their feelings up, deny them or be afraid to face them.

2. Be The Good Girl You Always Have To Be— Elsa didn’t fit the mold of what was expected of her. She was different, and this caused problems. She was told she had to be a “good girl” and hide who she really was.  Having been in the homeschooling movement for the last 20+ years I have seen this same thought process and have seen it be terribly detrimental. Young women (and men) are expected to fit a cookie cutter mold. They should dress alike, talk alike, like the same books and movies (but only those that are approved by the gurus), do the same crafts/hobbies and pursue a common dream. I fell prey to that as a parent. It’s so easy to think if I just check the right boxes and use the right formulas I will have the perfect adult children. I hate to be the one to break the bad news to you, but it just ain’t so. You can do everything perfectly(not that any of us can achieve this) and still have children who aren’t what you expected when they are adults. God has created us uniquely and we need to develop and encourage our children in their God given talents. We have to be cautious that we don’t allow legalism into our families. We shouldn’t be following gurus, they are just sinners like us, we should following scripture.

3. Prince Charming- Maybe Not— In the movie Prince Charming wasn’t so charming after all. I want my daughters to be discerning about young men. To know the character qualities and personality traits that are important to their success as a wife. I don’t want them to fall for the first guy who shows interest, just because he is showing interest. I would rather them marry a blue collar man who loves the Lord with all his heart and wants to serve Him, than a man who desires riches, position or fame.

4. Actions Have Consequences–  Some of them unintended— Elsa had kept her emotions pent up for so long that releasing them felt good. She didn’t realize that letting go like that had unintended consequences. We don’t live in a vacuum and everything we do affects someone else- either positively or negatively. We have seen that in the last year in more ways than you can imagine. I want my daughters to know that they are responsible for setting things right when their actions have unintended consequences.

5. Selfless and Self-Sacrificing Love— Anna was told that the only way to get the coldness out of her heart and to be healed was to do an act of true love. Everyone thought of a true love’s kiss. This time Disney got it right. It wasn’t the kiss of a prince or a pauper that would save Anna, but her act of selfless and self-sacrificing love. She was willing to sacrifice her life to protect her sister. I want my daughters to see that message and apply it. As a Christian we have the example of Christ laying down His life for us and it is how we should be living. We may not have to actually give our lives, but we should give them every day in service to one another. When we put someone else’s needs and wants above our own we are being selfless, that is a lesson our world needs to see.

I am not a Disney fanatic, I think some of their movies send a wrong message about many things. We have chosen to take those things in the movies we watch and make examples of them to our daughters. One of my goals as a mom of daughters is to raise my girls to be discerning and to be able to see the deeper meaning in what they are reading and watching. I want them to not just see the surface issues, but to understand the motives and thoughts of the characters they read about and watch. I often see many Christians parroting what they have heard some guru claim about a book or a movie without having taken the time to read or watch it. Scripture tells us to be like the Bereans and to study for ourselves, comparing what we see and hear against scripture. Paul told them to check what he said to make sure it was truth. When we start repeating what someone else has said without checking the veracity of a statement for ourselves, what we are doing is akin to gossip. It isn’t much different that telling everyone that Sally told you Joe had an affair. If you don’t know the fact to be true for yourself, then you shouldn’t be discussing it.

On more than one occasion we have had an adult tell our young adult daughters why they didn’t like this or that book or movie and in some situations tell them why we shouldn’t have let them read or watch it. This is dangerous ground for a couple of reasons. First, they are out of line for correcting our daughters for something we have allowed. Second, they usually have not read or watched the movie or book they are talking about, but parroting what someone “they trust” has told them. Going back to Paul, he didn’t say, “trust what I’m telling you”, he said to check it out for yourself. Things get really sticky when these well meaning people say such things to my daughters because our daughters  have been taught to be critical thinkers and know how to discuss the complexities of these subjects. The adults who felt the need to criticize the choices we have made are then shocked when my daughters will defend our choices. When our daughters were young we taught them a phrase that applied to different choices our family made, “Others may, but you may not.” There need not be judgment about such things.

Being a Godly woman doesn’t mean you are demure, sitting and waiting for someone to tell you to think or believe. There isn’t a uniform, or certain hairstyle, or a certain type of literature you have to read. We are all made as unique creations with our different giftings and personalities. We do our young women a disservice if we try to make them all cookie cutter copies and don’t allow them to develop the gifts that the Lord has given them. There are limitations set up in scripture and we should follow those, but we must be cautious about adding to scripture and being legalistic.

Darkness

Writing has been difficult as of late. Words don’t flow – emotions are percolating too close to the surface. I have shared in the past some of what we have been dealing with both here and here. Last night was a difficult night – I’ve had quite a few lately. It was filled with tears, raw emotions and a lack of sleep. When I awoke today, this free verse poem was floating around in my head – well, really it was stomping around and wouldn’t stop until I wrote it down. I’ve never done this before, so please don’t judge too harshly. It shares some of the emotions and feelings we have been going through for the last 50 weeks. Yes, it’s been that long. Truth be told, many days I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Darkness

My eyes open with a start!

I’m surrounded by darkness.

Where am I?

How did I get here?

I’m alone, afraid, panicking!

How do I get out?!

I just want out!!

I want to feel the sun on my face and hear the birds singing.

I hear the slow drip of water- it’s damp and cold.

Little feet are scurrying around me.

Where am I?

Why has no one come to help?

 

I move, but am aimless.

I can’t find my way in the darkness.

I feel it pressing down on me.

I stumble and fall – scraping my knee.

I cry out!

I Am! Where are you?

He is here! I can feel His presence.

I feel peace in the midst of the darkness.

 

I hear someone crying out.

Pain – torment- agony – terror!

I run toward the sound, stumbling again and again.

I Am! Help me find her!

He calms me.

I move toward the sound talking to I Am as I move.

I can’t see anything but I know that He is with me.

He reassures me – He will provide a way.

 

I reach the crying one- in a heap, covered in dirt.

The gut wrenching wailing continues.

I reach out to comfort her.

She thrashes at me,

directs all of her anger and sadness toward me.

I feel heartbreak – sadness – confusion – panic!

How can I help her?

 

I try to get her to come with me.

We must find a way out of the darkness!

She resists.

She wants to stay?!

I try to help her along but she fights me.

In the dark and dank we argue for hours.

I call to I Am.

He is there- I can feel His presence.

The battle rages on.

Eventually she trusts enough to come with me.

 

We find a tunnel and see a speck of light.

A way out!

Pulling her toward the light – still she resists.

I Am! I need strength!

Struggling with her is making me weary!

I don’t know if I can go on!!

Rest.

He wants me to rest?

The end is near! I can see the light!

Reluctantly I rest.

She rests.

 

We move toward the light –

a little less resistance.

The light!

Disappointment and despair!

This is but a crossroads-

not the end of the journey!

 

I can’t continue- the struggle is more than I can bear!

What direction do I go?

I don’t want to go back into the darkness!

Is there no other way out?

She doesn’t want to go!

She seems to like it here.

She rails against me – blames me – yells at me – fights me.

I Am! Help me!

Which way do I go?!

How do I help her?!

We bow together.

She calms.

Peace returns.

I have direction.

I step into the darkness once again – she follows.

Afraid- but at peace.

 

I don’t know how long the darkness will last.

It may never end.

I Am will be with me.

He will guide and direct me.

No matter how dark it gets – He will be there.

 

This doesn’t end with a “happy ending” because life isn’t like that. The truth is, God isn’t up in heaven saying to himself, “How can I make Lora’s life easier so that she will be happy all of the time?” He has a purpose and a plan. Sometimes that plan is raw, painful and difficult (just ask Deitrich Bonhoeffer). It has a purpose none the less. The hard part for us is to figure out how to glorify Him in the midst of the darkness. Because my purpose above all others is to bring glory to Him.

If you feel as if you are in the darkness, please share. I will pray for you. It helps me to have others to pray for, to remember I’m not the only one trying to find my way in the darkness.

Rachel re-did my blog for me! She is a great blessing and encouragement in my blogging adventures!

How Do We Show Love?

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Today is Valentine’s Day and I know that most people write about love for our spouses today, but I have been thinking about a different type of love. Love for friends, family, acquaintances and the lost. Scripture tells us that we are to be devoted to one another, show love to one another, and of course, love your neighbor as yourself. We can’t forget the love chapter of 1 Cor. 13; in it we are given many examples of what love is.

Several years ago I wrote a post in which I shared some practical ways to show love. In this post I want to cover heart issues as opposed to practical suggestions. This past year has taught us many things that you can only learn through heartache, sorrow and despair.  I am still working on many of these areas as well and am learning from my own failings.

Be genuine- So many times we use the phrase “How are you doing?” as a greeting and aren’t really interested in how that person is. We would be shocked if they actually shared what is happening in their life. We live in a culture that boasts of self-sufficiency and independence which makes it difficult for people to be transparent and genuine. We need to be willing to listen to & help those who have needs and also be willing to share ours.

Be Selfless- We live in a time that everyone has their days booked and scheduled to the point that we get frustrated when someone’s needs interrupts our day. We should be on the lookout to meet the needs of others. Christ showed His compassion to many by meeting their physical needs. Shouldn’t we strive to follow His example?

Be Thoughtful- Valentine’s day (and other holidays) are special and everyone needs to be shown love on special days. We need to look to those who may not have someone in their life to show them love on these days and encourage them. I had not thought of this until I saw the example set by a family I know. They showed up at the door of a single woman from our fellowship with a bouquet of balloons to wish her happy Valentine’s day. Maybe you know a widow, widower or single adult who needs someone to show they care. Perhaps a young mom would enjoy meeting at Chick fil a to chat. Also be thoughtful and don’t put added pressure on those you are trying to minister to. For instance the young mom might prefer to meet out as opposed to you coming to her house because she would feel pressure to clean, or maybe just getting out of the house and letting the kids play on the CFA playground would be nice.

Be Encouraging- Try to catch a child doing something good when you are out and tell the parent about how well they did. Something as simple as, “Joe held the door open for me on my way into church this morning. He sure blessed me and I’m sure he blesses you too.” I fondly, with tears in my eyes, remember Mrs. Bennett. I was the only homeschooler in our church and our growing family caused great consternation for those around us. I would get the rudest & most critical comments from friends about my pregnancies. Not from Mrs. Bennett. She was about 80 years old and every time I saw her she would give me a big hug and say something about the blessing all of my children would be and how she loved big families because she came from one. Those words literally made my time at church bearable. It is hard to be different from everyone, even if you are following your convictions.

Don’t judge- Let me start out by saying, there are things we are told in scripture to judge and those are things that God has deemed sinful. We are not to be speck inspectors though. We aren’t to judge whether we think someone’s need is great enough for compassion. The rule should be that we show compassion and let God worry about the rest of it. We should never judge someone’s motives. We can judge their actions but we don’t know their hearts. For instance, we can say someone acted in a prideful (angry, rude, you fill in the blank with the adjective) manner but we cannot say the did the because of ______. We don’t know their motives. I had a woman get very angry at me and when she finally came to me she exploded in a tirade of judgment and assumptions. She was mad because I didn’t hug her on the way into church, and that I didn’t talk to her as much anymore and on and on. She then gave all of the reasons I was doing these things. When I said that my reasons were quite different, she called me a liar. What she didn’t take into account was that I was going through a lot emotionally at that time. If she had watched, she would have seen that I didn’t hug anyone (unless they came to me to hug me) because I’m just not a huggy person. We don’t know what someone is going through and it is best not to assign motives. If a person’s actions hurt you, go to them calmly and in love and ask them about it. Don’t judge and assume.

Don’t take a meal- I know that sounds crazy. Everyone knows that when a person is in need you take a meal. At least that’s how we do it in the South. I have been the recipient of countless casseroles (way too many frozen lasagnas. . . whatever you do, don’t do that) after babies, miscarriages, surgeries and during illnesses and I appreciated them all. But it also would have been nice to have a conversation. A real conversation about how I was really doing. Oh, and don’t say call me if you need anything. You call, be there, let them know you care.

Live it- In many churches I have seen that so often we spend time studying and learning about what we should do as Christians but not a lot of living it. We spend a great deal of time in busy activities that make us look good and feel good about ourselves, but what are we doing for the cause of Christ? Do the lost see our compassion? Do they feel we empathize with their pain? Or do they hear us criticize them? Make judgments about what they do? There is a passage in scripture that I seldom hear discussed. It points out that we aren’t to be judging the unsaved that’s for God. We weren’t told to judge them, we were told to love them and pray for them.

 For what is it to me to judge outsiders? Do you not judge those who are inside? But God judges outsiders. . .   1 Cor 5:12-13

As Christians we should be continuously showing love and compassion. We are to be a light to the world. Not by hammering the lost over the head, or shouting at them, but by showing them the truth in love. We should be showing the love of Christ to our brother’s & sisters in Christ as well.  We often hear 1 Cor 13 during this season of love, usually they begin at verse 4, but to me the truly telling verse is verse 1. Are you a clanging cymbal? Am I?

 If I speak the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Cor 13:1-7

Life In The Midst Of The Storm

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When we were on our way to Louisiana for Papaw’s funeral we ran into a rain storm. You know the kind where you can hardly see the car in front of you? The picture above was taken in the midst of the storm. The storm was so bad and visibility was so low that all of the cars had their flashers on to try to be more visible.

In April a storm hit our family full strength. Like a hurricane we had warning signs, but when the warning signs were coming we didn’t know the strength of the storm that was behind them. This storm was in the form of illness in one of our children. Unfortunately it wasn’t the type of illness that you can put a band-aid on or treat with medicine. It was an illness of the heart and mind brought on by extreme heartbreak. Our daughter Sarah will be 26 next month, but mentally she is 6 and along with that comes the innocence of a young child. She loves and lives in a world that doesn’t comprehend unkindness and the inability to show love. She was plunged head long into that realization, and it took a hard toll on her.

For weeks that have turned into months we have been unsure of her outcome. We honestly don’t know if she will ever be the same again. There are changes that I think will help her in the future, she is seeming to learn to cope with things which she had be sheltered from in the past. At times we see a break in the clouds and in the distance we can see hope. But it’s in the distance.

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I have been trying to get life back to some semblance of normal. I don’t know what normal really is anymore. For 8 weeks it was me sitting on the couch beside Sarah every waking minute trying to make a connection with her and sleeping on the couch in the family room while she slept on a air bed a few feet away. Many of those nights were sleepless, full of worry, anxiety, confusion, prayer, and desperation. I can say I have never felt so desperate as I have in the last few months. Desperate to know how to help my child, desperate to fix things, desperate to have God give me clear direction. And He has. I can’t count the times that He has given me clear direction as to how to help her, and when I have followed that leading, I have been given what I need most of all . . . hope.

He really does offer help for the hopeless, because I have been that hopeless person as of late, not understanding, feeling like I am walking through a storm that has no end; hoping I don’t get lost in the process.

I have been so blessed to have the husband I have and Hannah, Rachel, and Caroline who have all been here on a daily basis to bring encouragement to me when I felt I couldn’t make it another moment, much less another day. Life has been raw. Ripped open. Shredded. But even in the midst of this God is glorious! He is brings restoration to my heart and healing to my soul.

Sarah needs your prayers. We all do. We are so thankful for the prayers and encouragement of extended family and friends. It can be heartbreaking to not know if she will be the same again. Mourning is part of daily life here now, mourning and missing the Sarah that was, and now mourning the loss of Papaw.

I don’t know what lies ahead. I just know that I’m trusting my Savior to bring us through it and sanctify us in the process.

Live To The Hilt

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Just two weeks ago I wrote a post about living in the future. Little did I know that things would happen that would have such a profound impact upon that future. Last Tues. night we got the kind of call we all dread. Gene’s step-father of 33 years was near death. Papaw died Wed. afternoon just as we were pulling out of Houston, heading toward Shreveport, LA.

We were all filled with great sadness over the loss of a kind-hearted man who thought of others and how to bless them in simple ways. Being with family made that loss easier to bear. We shed many tears and also shared many stories and laughter. Laughter is good medicine for the hurting heart.

Leaving was quite painful for us all. We wanted to be there to minister to Granny and help her with this transition in her life. Thoughts of moving back home were swirling in our minds. Then the realization set in that this just isn’t possible at this time of life. The job opportunities aren’t there for Gene and the reality is, you have to make money.

As I was getting back into the routine of things here at home, I felt discontentment setting in. I was complaining to God about the fact that He wasn’t providing a way for us to do this “good” thing. After all our motives were honorable, we want to minister to and serve our aging parents. Isn’t that the type of thing God would want us to do? What if He doesn’t provide a way?

As I ran a sink full of soapy water to do dishes this afternoon, my own words came back to haunt me.

As bumps come into my day, I need to pause and say a quick prayer asking the Lord what His will is for me in this moment and how does this fit into His future plan for me. Sometimes the answers are obvious; sometimes they are harder. We can have so many good opportunities in our lives that it can be difficult to see His best opportunities.

I was looking at what I thought was good and not looking at His best. If He has us here, for however long that is, He has a purpose in it. I need to rest in His purpose and live my life today with gusto; trusting in Him to take care of the future.

Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.  Jim Elliot

I have always loved this quote by Jim Elliot. I just need to put it into practice. Life is fragile, it will end before we know it. I don’t want to look back with the regret of living in the what might be or what might have been.

Words

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Words matter. They can wound or they can heal. They can tear down or they can build up. How we talk to those we love and even those we don’t can have a huge impact to those we are speaking to and those around us listening. Many times scripture tells the power of words, yet it seems that as a society we try to dismiss their impact by making everything a joke.

Many years ago I knew a woman who talked all summer long about how she couldn’t wait for school to start again so that her kids would be out of her hair. She would talk about how they were always underfoot, driving her crazy, leaving their toys laying around, and that she thought she would go insane if they weren’t back in school soon. She said all of this in front of her children. It was as if she thought they couldn’t hear her or that her words wouldn’t impact them. My heart always hurt for her children when she would say such things. I wanted to say something to her to make her see, but I didn’t. I’m ashamed I didn’t.

I understood their pain because I had lived it. I grew up hearing things like quitter, loud mouth, and many other words and phrases. A child needs to feel unconditional love from a parent. Now that doesn’t mean that you don’t correct & discipline; scripture tells us to not discipline our child is to hate them. But how do you do it? Do you say things like, “I can’t believe you would do something so stupid!” Some people would justify this statement by saying they didn’t call their child stupid, but the reality is they did. The child knows it and is hurt by it.

Wife, when your husband walks up behind you when you are talking to friends and overhears you talking about him, what does he hear? Does he hear complaints that he plays too much golf, watches too much football, or hasn’t done what you feel is needed around the house? Or does he hear you praising him for being the man that God gifted you with in spite of all of his flaws? As wives we need to be lifting up our husbands, not tearing them down. What uplifting words of love do we shower on our husbands? Because men don’t often share their feelings, we can mistakenly think that our words don’t impact them as greatly as their words impact us. With a very few well placed words we can make our husbands feel like a failure. I have done this more times than I can count, much to my shame

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.  Luke 6:45

What do people on the outside of your conversations take away from the words you are using? Do they see Christ in you? What about grace, mercy or compassion? Are your words often angry and snappy? What does that say? When you are under stress do you forget to be kind and let the stress take over? I know I can. We need to strive for better. We need to remember that our words are a testimony to the goodness of Christ. A verse that sticks with me often, and plays in my head when I blow it is, “out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks”.

Words. Let us strive to make them life-giving, encouraging, loving, compassionate, full of grace, uplifting, and healing.

What Are Your Educational Goals?

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When I first began homeschooling all of those many years ago-back in the dark ages- I had an idea in my head of what my homeschooling life would be. I pictured little girls quietly sitting around a table, following my carefully crafted schedule, rapt with attention to my every word, and did I mention sitting quietly? Well, God had a big laugh at me! He had other plans for me and it’s a good thing I didn’t know about them in advance or I would have run for the hills; screaming all the way!

My early  homeschooling years were have been filled with many trials and tribulations. Including miscarriages, surgeries, new babies, strange illnesses that took years to diagnose, 1 daughter with special needs who had many differing health complications, 2 daughters with learning difficulties. . . you get the picture. My plan crumbled around me as these trials came along. For years I thought that what my family members said may be right, I was going to make my children stupid by teaching them at home.

During this time God showed me that there was one important element in teaching my children. That was to teach them to love learning and to know how to learn. If they know how to learn, then they can teach themselves anything. So no matter how chaotic my days became or what the craziness was that was surrounding us, the girls always had books in their hands. I worked on fostering their curiosity in things around them and made an effort to encourage them to explore. When we lived in Baton Rouge we had a family membership to the zoo (back then it was only $25 for the family for a year) and we would go every week. The girls knew the zookeepers and the animals by name. They would ask the zookeepers questions about the animals and even once noticed before the keepers that one of the goats was walking differently. They told us the next time we came that they had checked it out, and found that it had arthritis. It made the girls’ day to know that they had helped in a small way.

Many times I questioned myself, thinking I was failing them. As time went on I began to notice that they were learning and able to relate what they were learning not only to me, but to others. I was often surprised to hear the facts they would rattle off about things I didn’t know and would ask them where they learned that. I would get the reply, “Oh, I read about it in such & such book.” I felt like our homeschooling was a grand experiment and it was bearing fruit. My self-doubt began to fade and I began to have great confidence in the “method” or lack thereof, of homeschooling we were using.

Early in my homeschooling I read a book, “Homeschool Burnout: What it is. What causes it. and How to overcome it.” by Ramond & Dorothy Moore, that helped me greatly in making it through the tough times. They didn’t just talk in theory, they had actual scientific evidence to back up what they were saying. In it there was a piece of important information that would help me later in my homeschooling. They did a study of boys learning to read. They had one group that was forced to learn to read by 7 and another group that was allowed to learn when they were ready, many not learning until they were 10 or 12. By the time they all reached 14 all of the boys were reading at the same pace. This would prove invaluable to me because one of my daughters had an sensory issues and a auditory processing disorder and reading was very difficult for her. I would pull out the Bob books and we would begin to try to work on them and within minutes she would be in tears. Remembering what I had read, and praying that it was right, I would put the books away. I would wait a few months and try again, and the same thing would happen. We started this dance when she was 5. One day when she was 10 she disappeared to her room for a while. This wasn’t unusual, but after a few hours I sent someone to check on her. It turns out that she was sitting on her bed reading her fifth “Boxcar Children” book. I was elated- and relieved. It had worked! Since that time she hasn’t slowed down on her reading and loves to read and to write.

 Lora’s Educational Goals:

My children to love learning

My children to know how to learn

My children to love to read

If my goals hadn’t been firmly established it would have been easy for me to push her too hard and to force things on her she wasn’t ready for. Every time the temptation came upon me, usually due to outside pressure, I would remind myself that I wanted her to not just learn to read, but to love reading. I didn’t want to do anything to hinder that. I feel deeply that the love of reading is what will develop into the love of learning and it will give a person the ability to learn anything.

My daughters have taught themselves everything from computer programming to sewing to baking all through having a desire to learn. My daughters love to cook and they have grown up watching Food Network so that they can hone their skills. That desire to learn something has been developed in what they watch as entertainment. The other day Caroline was talking to a friend and mentioned she had been MIA. The friend didn’t know what that meant and when Caroline explained it to her the friend wondered if she had grown up in a military home. Caroline loves reading and watching things that have to do with WWII. I have tried to teach my girls to learn from everything that they do, watch, read, and listen to. I have taught them to ask themselves what God can teach them through whatever thing they are doing or going through.

What are your educational goals? What is at the root of why you homeschool? What is most important for your children? Are your goals attainable? Are you expecting your children to work on your timetable or by their abilities? Children don’t mature at the same rate and don’t have the same attention spans. I had one that had to take a break every 30 minutes and walk around so she could then focus again. I had to let go of my plan and work within her abilities. We were all happier for it. Look at your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Assess your own. Are you worried about how others will judge your homeschooling if your child isn’t where they think she should be? If you have educational goals, would you share them?

When Is My Future

Have you ever been on a hike and become parched and thirsty. The heat is unbearable and all you want to do is to get to the end of the trail to a nice ice cold bottle of water and rest. As you come up the next rise you can see the end of the trail in the distance. It doesn’t seem that far off and you are so ready to reach it, then you come over the next rise and it doesn’t seem to be any closer.   It seems that it is just out of reach. To me the future seems to be some unattainable place in the distance. Once we get to a place thinking we have arrived, we look up and the future is still out there looming before us.

I tend to think of the future- a lot. I can find myself living there as opposed to living in the here and now. I think of and pray about where the Lord wants me in one year, five years or even ten years. I can tend to focus on “one day” and not on today. I look back over my life and look at all of the time I spent thinking about what will be. What did I miss while being in the future?

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All of the best time management advice tells you to plan for the future- set goals- have a strategy. I’m not knocking goal setting and planning, I love to make a plan and love to work my plan. But, we can work our plan to the point that we miss out on His plan. Do we miss out on the butterfly that is bringing wonder to the life of our child because we have dinner to cook or dishes to wash. Do we put off times of intimacy with our husbands because of everything that is on our to-do list?

It seems that the future is somewhere out there in the distance, but I believe to the Lord the future has a much different look. It has to do with the next moment. What choice will I make; where will my focus be? Will I help my neighbor? Will I stop folding the laundry to cuddle with my husband? Will I read that book to my child for the 1,000th time?

In scripture we are told to pray without ceasing. To me this is like having a chat room open with God all of the time. As bumps come into my day, I need to pause and say a quick prayer asking the Lord what His will is for me in this moment and how does this fit into His future plan for me. Sometimes the answers are obvious; sometimes they are harder. We can have so many good opportunities in our lives that it can be difficult to see His best opportunities. I can remember a year when my girls were little that I didn’t teach in VBS. I had many things happening in my life at that time and after much prayer Gene and I felt I should sit that year out. Most people didn’t understand that decision. I was told so many times that it was a good thing. Yes, it was, but for me, at that time it wasn’t God’s best thing for me.

Trust in the Lord to guide you to His best future for you. Keep communication open and rely on the Holy Spirit for direction. Pray over your long term goals and well as what happens moment by moment. By all means set goals and make a plan, but don’t let your plan keep you from doing the Lord’s work whenever it comes your way. I have found it helpful to ask the Lord for direction & wisdom for the day before I even place a foot on the floor. Often I will need that direction and wisdom within moments. The Lord is merciful and patient with us. He wants to help us and direct us, trust Him to show you the way and to be there to guide you in all you do.

Time For New Beginnings

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For a while I have been wanting to get back to writing but the Lord has been putting things in my path to prevent that. I am now at a place where I feel the freedom to write and with Gene’s blessing am starting on this adventure once again. In the last year the Lord has shown me many things, though it has taken great hardship and many trials to learn the lessons He has had for me. He has reminded me of the ministry He has given to me of serving my family, and how that should be my primary focus.

Though my primary focus is my family the Lord has also called us to be a light into the world and to encourage one another. That is the purpose of this blog. I chose the name, “My Titus 2 Journey”, because my life has been exactly that. He has taken me on a journey that has taken me through many dark valleys, but also some glorious and amazing mountain tops. I want to share the things He has taught me and is continuing to teach me as I go on this journey. The picture in my header is one that I took on our 25th anniversary trip to San Antonio. It is one of the walkways in front of the Alamo. When I look at it, it looks like a walkway you would travel through to start a grand adventure. While our lives may not be fraught with the adventures of Bilbo Baggins or the other Hobbits, our life is still a grand adventure full of unexpected twists and turns. Our ultimate goal should be serving Christ as we go through our days looking at every experience to see what He is trying to reveal of Himself to us.

 I hope to encourage women to be who they are in Christ and to follow the model of Titus 2 in this endeavor

Please leave a comment and let me know how you are doing. If there is a specific topic you would like to discuss, let me know and I’ll consider a post about it.

May the Lord’s face shine upon you today!

Happy Birthday Sarah!

I wrote this post 7 years ago, just one month into my blogging journey. Many people here in Texas only knew us once Sarah was older and don’t realize the journey we went on to get to the place that we are. I have been considering writing more about the lessons the Lord has taught me through her and hope to start doing so in the next couple of weeks. I hope that the testimony of the Lord’s goodness and mercy will in some way bless you.

September 10th was our daughter Sarah’s 18th birthday. That’s a special day in anyone’s life, but for Sarah it was doubly special. When Sarah was born, she seemed like every other girl baby, though she was especially happy and easy going. She began reaching all of the normal milestones a mother looks for, such as rolling over, smiling at her parents and sister. At 6 months old we began to notice that she wasn’t trying to sit like she should. When it was time for her 6 month check up I shared some of my concerns with my pediatrician. Everything was going great until he measured her head. I will remember the next thing he said for the rest of my life. He looked at me with a great deal of concern in his eyes and said, “Mrs. Keeth, for some reason Sarah’s head isn’t growing like it should. She has microcephaly.” Microcephaly just means, small head. He was unsure of the reason behind the problem and wanted her to see a neurologist. He told us to watch for seizures, but that it would take up to 3 months to see a neurologist.

This news sent me into the deepest pit of dispair that I have ever been in. It seemed as if it was all a dream. As the days went by, I found out that some children who have microcephaly slowly die as their brains grow but not their heads. To me this was an unthinkable situation to be in, to slowly watch my baby die was more than I could bear. I began to pray that she would die in her sleep from SIDS. In my thinking this would be easier on everyone. She wouldn’t suffer and neither would we. I thought I had figured out the best solution for everyone, if I could only make God see it my way.

The weeks went by, we finally were able to see the neurologist. During those weeks, Gene had switched jobs and we didn’t have any insurance. We ended up seeing a neurologist at LSU Med Center in Shreveport. We waited 5 hours in a waiting room and when we finally saw her it was a horrible experience. This was a teaching hospital and they treated Sarah like a specimen, not a person. They acted as if nothing they were saying should affect us emtionally. The doctor told us in no uncertain terms that, “She will never walk, talk or do anything. You need to institutionalize her and get on with your life.” The results of her exam were that she had Cerbral Palsy,Developemental Delay and Epilepsy.

I don’t know what I would have done without Gene at that time. He was so strong always reminding me that God was in control and had a plan.

A few weeks later, I noticed that Sarah didn’t react when I vaccuumed under her baby bed. She just laid there laughing and smiling at me. I took her in for some testing and we suspected she was deaf. It wouldn’t be until she was nearly two that we had the confirmation that she was.

Time went on, and Sarah was a light into my life, and into everyone’s she met. She was always happy and joyful. I can remember going to see a neurologist at Texas Scottish Rites Hospital in Dallas. He was the first one to give me hope. Sarah was 18 months old and couldn’t sit or even support her upper body weight. He examined her and when he was finished he said, “I can’t tell you why medically, but I believe Sarah will be able to do whatever you allow her to do. I can look into her eyes and see that there is more to her than what you have been told.” That was all this mother needed to hear! A week or so later I went to see her pediatrician again and told him what the neurologist had said. His answer was, “I don’t believe that. There is nothing to show me that.” His words didn’t deter me though, I had been given hope. God knew that’s what I needed.

Within a few months Sarah began to sit. And then she learned to pull herself up onto things with her one good arm. She had this funny frog hop that she did instead of crawling, but it didn’t slow her down at all. She didn’t learn to walk and wasn’t potty trained until she was 4, but at 18 that doesn’t really matter.

Sarah is still a light in our lives and in the lives of many others. You will usually find her smiling or laughing, especially if you do something embarassing, like tripping, in front of her. We have so many stories about her that it would take hundreds of pages to tell them. Most of them would have you in tears from laughter.

There are still difficulties with Sarah. There are many things she is unable to do. She can’t ride a bike, scooter, skate or drive though she thinks she should be able to. She can’t walk long distances without a wheelchair because she tires out. She also can’t imagine saying hurtful words to someone on purpose. She can’t understand not trusting in God or denying His existance. She can’t understand that there are people who judge her because she’s different. Or that people wouldn’t love her as she loves them.

Lately Sarah’s emotions have been a roller coaster, and we’re all along for the ride. At times I get discouraged, wanting to fix things (I’m famous for wanting to be able to fix things and getting frustrated when it isn’t fixed instantly). I can remember being in a Bible study right after I got saved, I was 19. We were studying Job and discussing the trust that God had in him to know that Job would never deny God. I remember praying, you guessed it, that God would trust me like that. I joke about it and say be careful what you pray for because you might get it. But ya know, I wouldn’t change a thing. If it hadn’t been for Sarah I would probably be one of the most shallow Christians around, depending on myself and not on God. I learned that as long as I think I’m in control, I don’t depend on Him, I depend on myself. Today I know that God only gives me the grace to handle what comes at me, not for today, but for this minute. It’s not a day by day walk with Him, but a minute by minute walk.

In whom are you trusting? What if something happened to one of your children or your parents? Would you trust that God would sustain you? That He will carry you through? I pray that you will examine yourself and see exactly in whom you are trusting.