God knew you weren’t perfect when He gave you the job of motherhood. He knew you would often wake up in the morning and stare into the mirror and see the word hypocrite written across your own forehead. He knew that you would want to give up because sometimes it is hard to discipline yourself let alone the children. He knew how much effort it would take for you to guide foolish children to the joy of His salvation but what you didn’t know is that they are His tools to discipline you as well. Children reveal things about our personality that were lying dormant before they came. I never knew how organized I was until I had children messing stuff up. No one ever told me how angry you can get at their ignorance, or that they had squeals that could break ear drums, or the helpless feeling you get when they are sick and you are powerless to do more than make them comfortable.
These are the tools that God is using to shape and mold you along the way to His perfection. And there are few important points I want to make to you. Points that I often use to remind myself that I am allowed to do this job even when I feel like a hypocrite.
- God gave me the authority to do it.
- God tells us to obey authority in all matters unless they tell us to break His words. This means even those who wield authority “without God.” (Paul told the Christians in his day to honor the King. This king was Nero!)
- He commanded me to teach my children His word. (Because He knew that as I did this I would be absorbing it again as well. To teach is to learn twice.)
Hypocrite Proofing? So how does a less than perfect Mom teach her children to obey God? By allowing her children to see her imperfection. By allowing them to know that Mommy blows it and has to apologize for her behavior too. By allowing them to see the tears of repentance flow when God convicts her of her own foolishness. The testimony that every man is a sinner in need of a Savior flows when our children see that we can’t do it without the grace of God either. They need to know that there won’t be a point sometime in adulthood where they will arrive at perfection. They need to know about sanctification so they won’t become discouraged the older they get as their sin becomes more apparent even to themselves.
With these things in mind here are things that we are constantly working on together in our family:
- Do not speak disrespectfully to each other. The law of kindness should rule our tongues. (This is patience with shoes on.) The other day I heard a young girl scream at her Mother in frustration, “but I need a bowl!” I winced in shock at her behavior as I watched her mother react calmly. I remember thinking I wonder what Mom did about that later. And this leads to…
- DON’T let your children scream demands at you or any one else. (This is self-control with shoes on.) If this is a constant battle you may need to give some serious discipline in the matter but if it is a first time offense you can gently correct by asking them not speak that way and giving them a chance to ask respectfully. This starts with infant fits! If your baby throws a fit for a toy you should not give it to them. Do not reward whining and crying behavior by giving them the thing they are desiring. Tell them “no” firmly and if needed place them in the high chair, your lap, or their crib until they stop. When children are young like this they can be so determined and it will really test your resolve but this battle you really need to win!
- Keep your hands to yourself unless you are helping. (The good Samaritan rule.) All manners of conflicts can be avoided by this simple rule.
- Look for ways to help each other. (Another side to the good Samaritan rule.) This is a difficult task! We are such selfish creatures by nature that we really have to train ourselves to seek the good of others as scripture tells us. If you are asked for help you are not allowed to say no. (This one is very difficult for me. I often have to reform myself immediately when asked for help and put down what I am doing. However, It is often hard for children to discern in this area that a refusal to help is because you are giving them an opportunity to figure something out and stretch the mind until they can. You may need to tell them this is what you are doing. This means by position of pure authority that sometimes you may look like a hypocrite even when you are not.)
The older I get the closer we get to the day the Lord blesses us with the “last one.” Sometime in the next decade my child bearing years will end. The Lord will decide to close my womb. I look at my two littlest ones sitting beside each other. What a sweet pair they make… one loves to get her back scratched and one just loves to give scratches. And I think of all the negative questions through the years but I also think of all the positive and sweet things that have happened because of our brood.
We’ve lit up the face of more than one elderly couple sitting in a restaurant. They love the children immediately and they love us for having them. They will either be in one of two boats. They were never able to have any children of their own or “We had six!” with a look of pride on their face. “We’re glad you are having so many children. The world still needs big families.” We’ve even had a few older gentleman mis-count the children and say, “I thought there was one more.” And sometimes we wonder if they weren’t close enough to the heavenly realm that they could see our sweet Ahren trailing along in our number.
We’ve encouraged others to have more children for the glory of God. Others have seen that having a bunch of children is not the horror story that some make it out to be. They see that children can be taught to love one another and their neighbors. Children can be taught responsibility and not have to play games and videos all day. We’ve put scripture in their hands and armed them with the truth that children are indeed a blessing from the Lord.
We’ve been approached by strangers and encouraged. It has been my greatest blessing over the years to be encouraged out of the blue by veteran parents of large family when they see us out in public. They encourage us in our duty as Christian parents and tell us not to become faint of heart because in due season we will reap the reward. The reward of children who love the Lord.
We’ve shared the sorrows of those who have suffered infant loss. The Lord has taught us compassion through our childbearing years. When friends suffer from infant loss we feel that we have the experience to pray for them in a way that others can not. We have the confidant assurance that although we may never see those little ones here again we will have the privilege of being together with Christ. Our brief time with them was not a waste but carries with it the promise of eternity!
The best part… We have a house teaming full of life. The dominion mandate carried out in our little sphere. The sweetness of babies and tender moments between siblings. Watching sons adore their Father. Girls imitating their Mom and older sister. Mature children stepping up to responsibility. It is very seldom quiet here and I rue the day that it is. I’m hoping by that time that my house will be filled with noisy visiting grandchildren!
Eventually, my womb will close BUT IT ISN’T GOING TO BE THIS YEAR! The next little Blackshear baby will appear on the scene sometime in June! We are ALL so excited and our children especially so.
Any one with children can tell you that they are not an expert on raising them. This isn’t a post where I tell you what you are doing wrong but rather it is an expression of things we have learned along the way as our family grows and we grow spiritually in the Lord. This is also a response to the puzzled inquires over the years when we have been asked, “How do you do it?” Our children, although well talked of in public, are not well behaved ALL the time. They don’t make their beds every morning, they often don’t come when they are called, and sometimes they are disrespectful. They are sinners in need of a Savior as well as me. So this is and always will be a story of God’s grace to us and how it has affected us as a family.
The first and MOST important points… for wives…
- Always agree with your husband, even if you disagree. (You can talk in private later about it.) Stand united in front of your children or your children will learn to play one parent against another and the rest of your lives will be miserable. Your children will despise you and you will despise your husband. Dr. Dobson was the wise man who first brought this up to us. I’ve been thankful for his wise words everyday.
- Your husband can over ride your decision. Read the Old and New Testament. He may do this. He may do it immediately. He doesn’t have to ask you if you approve. It is his place of authority that God has given. This is good for me since I tend to be a party pooper and a nay sayer over minor things and I tend to sometimes make mountains out of mole hills. You might think that this would cause your children to despise their mother but it doesn’t. This is good family government. It is Biblical. You should not dispute anything in front of your children. They need to see you accept his authority. Remembering that you chose to accept his authority when you married.
- If you ask your husband advice and he gives a vague answer than take it as a NO. Chances are he may be not sure what he doesn’t like and will tell you, “do what you think is best.” In our family I’ve come to learn that means, “This is not a good idea.” I have learned not to procede until I get a certain answer.
- If you think you ought to be the one making decisions over your husband because you are more spiritual I have a really great story to relate to you privately. If you think you are more spiritual than your husband you need to repent of pride before the Lord. We are not supposed to think of ourselves more highly than another. Think of it like this… can you imagine the church arguing with the it’s head, Christ? And yet this is the comparison given to us as an example.
- Embrace your Biblical role and promote peace. Read the Proverbs about nagging wives and the husband’s behavior and see if it hits close to home.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Ephesians 5:22-23
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup green peppers, diced
- 1/4 cup onion, diced
- 1 pouch Campbell Chicken Noodle Soup
- 2 cups water
- 2/3 cup long grain rice.
Saute onion and pepper in butter until tender. Add rice, soup, and water. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and let it simmer on low for 20 minutes. Add 2/3 cup parmesan cheese for an extra yummy kick!
This is one of my favorite out of box side dishes!
It was on Pinterest a few months ago that I first ran across a recipe for the Pizza Hut Original Pan Pizza recipe from cdkitchen. I was skeptical but I couldn’t resist giving it a try. The first time it turned out pretty good but I wasn’t as impressed as I hoped to be and I was confessing such to my friend when she asked me, “Have YOU ever had pizza cooked in a skillet? Next time use your iron skillet.” So I did and I confess I’ve had to make pizza almost every week since. It probably helps that I have a convection oven that it turns out so well and I often cook three pizza at the same time. One recipe makes enough dough for two 10- inch skillets.
One of the biggest issues with this recipe however is that I find I never have dry milk on hand so I use 1 1/2 cups of milk instead of water. And I found that the pizza cooks just as well in the skillet with 1.5 ounces of oil versus the three. It would be awesome if I could find a cheap source of butter flavored corn oil and I’ve wondered if I could use butter flavored shortening.
Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man… Proverbs 21:17a
- Those who pursue pleasure have their sights on the physical.
- Those who pursue pleasure do not have self-discipline.
- Those who pursue pleasure do not consider future consequences.
- Those who pursue pleasure do not seek wisdom.
- Those who pursue pleasure do know where true pleasure is found.
1. We may be poor if we place the pursuing of our physical needs above our spiritual ones. It is obvious to anyone who uses Pinterest that the amount of time we think about physical things can fill volumes. Remember that Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. “(Matthew 6:31-34 ESV) Can you imagine if we were to successfully shift our thoughts from our physical needs to our spiritual?! ”…As it is written, “…no eye has seen, no ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 ESV) We will be poor if we do not seek His kingdom first.
2. We may be poor if we can not tell ourselves “NO.” Ask any person who has been on a diet or tried to quit a bad habit. You have to tell yourself “NO” and you have to mean it. Self discipline is a fruit of the Spirit. It is not something we can do apart from Christ. If you find that you can’t tell yourself no than chances are you are spending money on things you don’t need and you need the Lord’s help to say “No.” If the fruit of the Spirit is self discipline you know that God will give you freely if you ask Him for it. Go ahead! Practice! Say… “NO, I’ll save money if I don’t buy cookies.” “NO, I’ll save money if I don’t buy a coke.” “NO, I’ll save money if …. (you fill in the blank for whatever habit you are trying to kick)” Stuff the money you would have spent in a jar and you will be surprised at how fast your jar will be full and the inner satisfaction that you didn’t really need those things because Christ is enough. We will be poor if we don’t ask Him to help us control our sinful nature.
3. We may be poor if we don’t think about the future consequences of our behavior. This I think might be obvious because it is tied to self-discipline. Whether we are thinking about gaining weight or raising children we need to prepare. Although we don’t have control of the future regarding the world around us how we behave now and think is going to impact how we face future challenges. Pocketing money that wasn’t yours may not cause you any trouble today but if you are the kind of person who does that it will impact your future, people, and your children. Be wise and remember the story of the Father and the Little Girl. “Someone” always sees you. We will be poor if we don’t recognize that we are responsible for our behavior before a Holy God.
4. We may be poor if we don’t go to the proper source for wisdom. This one is rather simple for we have all heard (I hope) that “the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” It does not exist apart from the Father. We are told in 1 Timothy 6:20 to turn away from Godless chatter and false knowledge that oppose the word of God. If “knowledge” is causing us to turn from God and listen to man’s ”wisdom” we will be spiritual debtors and possibly physical debtors as well. We will be poor if we shun the wisdom found in the Word of God.
5. We may be poor if we don’t know the source of true pleasure. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11 ESV) Until God brings us to the place that we can finally recognize He is the real joy give and the pleasure of our lives we will wallow in poverty forever. May Jehovah be merciful to us and make us wise unto salvation because without him we are destitute.
Ah, dear friends, God has only to give you what you want, to make you feel the emptiness of it! If you are his child, the more you have the less you will see in it. ~Charles Spurgeon
One of my favorite restaurants to go to years ago was Ryan’s and if you asked me why I would tell you, “Macaroni and cheese!” Unfortunately, as the years passed the restaurant changed owners and … you guessed it… the mac and cheese changed. BLEH!
Ever since then it has been my goal to recreate the original version that I loved. Last month, having gone through many recipes, I accidentally recreated it when I was in a hurry to take something to a friend’s house for dinner. I grabbed a few ingredients threw them in the pan and we scooted out the door.
A few hours later as we sat down to dinner the first thing that was gone was the macaroni and cheese. The consumers raved. The husband and children cheered except for Goldilocks, who turned up her nose as usual. She can’t stand mac n cheese. Can she be my child?!
And now, before I forget what I did to achieve perfection I’m going to immortalize it in this blog.
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 16 oz. bag of large elbow noodles, boiled and drained
- 8 oz. Velvetta cheese
- 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tbsp. chicken bouillon
- 1/2 cup milk
Keep the pan you boiled your noodles in and place those noodles back in that pan when drained. Reduce heat to its lowest setting. Add velvetta, cheddar, parmesaon, garlic powder, bouillon, and milk. Stir until melted thoroughly. It may be kind of thick at this point. I begin to add water 1/2 cup at a time and stir it in until I have it as creamy as I want; kind of like a cheesy looking gravy.
**PRINTABLE RECIPE HERE**
One of my most favorite meals on earth is spaghetti. I love it so much that I’m not even really picky about the flavor. Different recipes for spaghetti are a lot like different recipes for chocolate. It’s ALL good. Farm Boy loves it as much as I do but the Tireman has. never. liked. spaghetti.
From the beginning there was a spaghetti war between us. He hated it and I loved it. It wasn’t helpful that it is the cheapest meal on the planet known to me. After a while I decided I would be sneaky and pray and ask the Lord to help my husband like spaghetti, because we ate it a lot.
Do you know what happens when you ask the Lord to help your husband like spaghetti? God changes your recipe. To my amazement, in the past two years, the Tireman has requested spaghetti for dinner on numerous occasions. He is still not an “any spaghetti lover.” You’ll never see him order it in a restaurant. However, he says MY spicy spaghetti tempts his taste buds now. I felt like doing a victory dance…my prayer had been answered!! And then I felt a little chagrin about the entire situation…
So why would I feel chagrin? And what does this have to do with spiritual matters? Are you ready? This is the end of the matter, all has been heard, when asking the Lord to change your husband; don’t be surprised if you are the one He changes.
(for a printable version click the picture above and it will take you to a .pdf file)
- 2 (28 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
- 2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 roll Jimmy Dean italian sausage
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. whole fennel seeds
- 2 tbsp. oregano
- 1 tbsp. marjoram
- 2 tbsp. basil
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Saute garlic, pepper flakes, fennel seeds in the olive oil until it smells awesome!
Cook hamburger and Italian sausage in the oil.
Add diced and crushed tomatoes plus the remaining spices.
Transfer to a slow cooker on low for 4 to 6 hours. Serve with spaghetti noodle of your choices and some garlic bread!
You will find me linked up here today!
When I was young and single it was hard enough keeping up with fourteen socks. A pair for each day of the week you know. There were always some missing and eventually you threw that one away only to despair when you found the match three days later.
Now I’m the household manager of 18 socks per day. (Apparently I’ve gotten a raise from management.) As you can imagine sock matching has risen to new heights of insanity. It wasn’t until a year ago however that I got a foot up on the situation. I don’t match all the socks anymore. I sort them… that’s all. I actually look forward to it now. I’m the kind of person who could file all day. It makes me feel accomplished. Don’t say to me…”Hey,would you like to play memory.” I will run away screaming.
Fortunately, there are enough brands out there that every boy and girl has different socks. Every person is responsible for the socks in their basket. The green basket actually belongs to the Tireman and I. I still match his socks. BTW, underwear also goes in the baskets. I don’t fold that either. Yes, sigh. Sit back and relax because life isn’t about what your undergarment drawer looks like. I have better things to do… like drinking that Samuel Adam’s sitting on my laundry counter.