Guest Posts

Guest Post: I’d Rather Be with You: An Open Letter to My Children

If your theology pretty much matches up with mine (as outlined in my “Welcome” and “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) and you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me an e-mail at MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com, and let’s chat about it.

 

I’d Rather Be with You:
An Open Letter to My Children

by Courtney Feulner

In a world where children are seen not as a blessing, but an inconvenience, I want you to know:
I’d rather be with you, my darlings.

While others are getting their eight hours of blissful slumber, and I wake for the third time with tired groans (and bags under my eyes), secretly,
I’d rather be with you.

When you greet me before the first morning light with sleepy eyes and wobbly steps, and other moms are off to their morning work-outs, I know this time is fleeting, so
I’d rather be with you.

While other kids your age are carted off from one activity to another, I know your time will come, but for now,
I’d rather be with you.

While other couples are trekking across the globe and taking adventurous trips, just the two of them, I look out and see you playing without a care in the world, and I smile because I know my time will come, and if given the choice,
I’d rather be with you.

When my name is on the invitation, and yours are not,
I’d rather be with you, my loves.

While career-woman chases financial freedom and grasps for the next rung, I consider her little ones who foot the bill. Money can’t buy what I have, so
I’d rather be with you, my sweet babies.

When you throw tantrums, big and stubborn like your personality, I laugh and cry because you’re cute and naughty, but I remember that this is all shaping who you are and who you will become. Even on the days when my wherewithal has been through it all, still,
I’d rather be with you.

When you make messes that I’ve cleaned up a million times already, and oh the piles of laundry, I recall how empty and vain it was before, and my heart knows that
I’d rather be with you.

When you come running with your ceramic mugs shouting, “Tea! Tea!” as I just sit down to enjoy my only-hot-for-so-long coffee,
I’d rather have it lukewarm and be with you.

When your eyes grow wide with excitement over a big story, and I try to hide my laughter and take you seriously (but I can’t because you’re too funny!), yes,
I’d rather be with you.

You see, the transient things, they come and they go, but you are a priceless gift! Without you I wouldn’t know the true satisfaction, the lasting blessing, the deep joy that comes from dying to self and living for others. You help me to see the gospel more clearly.

When I look into your wonder-filled eyes, when I truly take the time, and realize how much older you look than yesterday, oh my, how
I’d much rather be with you!

So, my little sweethearts, when the world doesn’t welcome you, this one thing I need you to know:
I’d always rather be with you.


Courtney is a homeschooling, stay-at-home-mama of two children. She received her degree in Elementary Education from Moody Bible Institute where she met her husband, Greg, and discovered her passion for teaching children. Together they are pursuing adoption.

Biblical Womanhood Bible Study

Imperishable Beauty: Lesson 12- Beautiful Motherhood

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Read These Selected Scriptures

In lesson 11, we looked at God’s design for women who are wives. Lesson 12 focuses on the beauty of being a godly mother.

Questions to Consider

1. In lessons 2 and 3 (links above) we took a look at some of the attributes of a godly mother that we can emulate. What are some of those attributes or character traits from Proverbs 31? In today’s lesson, rather than attributes to emulate, we’ll be focusing on God’s instructions to obey for mothers. We’ll examine how we’re to regard motherhood and our children, how we’re to train our children in godliness, how we’re to discipline our children out of ungodliness, and the example we’re to set for our children. Some of these instructions can also apply to childless women in their relationships with their spiritual children (i.e. younger women or children they disciple) and others. As you read over today’s passages, explain how childless women might apply some of these Scriptures.

2. Examine the first three passages (Psalm 127-Titus 2) together. What do these passages say about how we are to regard motherhood and our children? What should the attitude of our hearts be? In what sense are children a reward? How do we know that Psalm 127:3 does not mean that if you act in a way that pleases the Lord He will reward your good behavior with children? What does this verse mean? Is loving your children (Titus 2:4) simply a feeling of affection toward them? If so, why would young women need to be trained to love their children? When you finish today’s lesson, come back to Titus 2:4 and give a fully-orbed biblical definition of what it means to love your children.

3. Examine the next five passages (Proverbs 22-Ephesians 6) together. Why does God want us to train our children in godliness? Explain the phrase “in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). How does the gospel figure in to training your child? Look carefully at the three Old Testament passages. At what age should we begin training our children in godliness and the Scriptures and how long should this training continue? Is Proverbs 22:6 an iron-clad guarantee or promise from God that if we raise our children in a godly home they will definitely get saved and turn out to be godly adults? Why not? (Scroll down to the Deuteronomy 21 passage if you need help.)

To whom are the Colossians and Ephesians verses addressed? Does this mean they don’t apply to mothers or that it’s OK for mothers to provoke their children, but not fathers? If they apply to both parents, why are they addressed to fathers? How are we not to deal with our children according to these verses? What does it mean to provoke your children? Why are we not to provoke them (Colossians), and how are we to deal with them instead (Ephesians)? Compare Ephesians 6:4b to the Old Testament verses in this section. How are they similar?

3. Examine the next three passages (Proverbs 29-Deuteronomy 21) together. What is the purpose of godly discipline? What are the biblical definitions of the words “discipline” and “reproof”? Are discipline, reproof, and training the same as punishment? Why or why not? What are some of the consequences of disciplining your child? The consequences of refusing to discipline your child? According to Proverbs 13:24, what motivates someone to discipline her child? What motivates someone to refuse to discipline her child? Are “love” and “hate” simply emotional feelings in this verse or an attitude, posture, or orientation of mindset toward the child? Look closely at Deuteronomy 21:20. Is this passage most likely talking about a very young child or an older child/teenager? According to the Deuteronomy 21 passage, does godly discipline always result in an obedient son or daughter, or can there be exceptions to the rule?

Why is it important to both train your child in godly ways and discipline him out of ungodly ways? Explain how this fits into the “put off the ungodly, put on the godlymodel of biblical sanctification.

4. Examine the last five passages (Deuteronomy 21-Matthew 10) together. What do these passages teach us about the godly example we need to set for our children?

Sometimes we see implicit instructions to parents in passages that explicitly teach children how to treat and regard their parents. For example, if there were a verse that said, “Children, love your parents,” we could learn from that verse that we need to act in a way (lovable) that makes it easier for our children to obey that Scripture. Considering this concept, look at the Exodus 20 and Proverbs 1 passages. If your children are to honor you, in what manner should you behave? What should your teaching be like if your children are not to forsake it and to consider it a “graceful garland” and a “pendant”?

What is the context of Ezekiel 16? To whom is the parent/child metaphor in this  passage addressed? Explain the phrase “like mother, like daughter”. Why is it important to set a good example for our children with our own behavior, and why was this a good metaphor for God to use in addressing Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him?

Examine the Deuteronomy 21 and Matthew 10 passages together. What is to be a mother’s highest priority – her relationship with her child, even the life of her child, or her love for, obedience to, and loyalty to Christ? Do you love Christ more than your child? If you had to choose between your child and Christ, whom would you choose? What message does it send to our children when we show and tell them that we love Christ more than we love them? How can you demonstrate to your child that your highest love and loyalty is reserved for Christ?


Homework

Examine each of the instructions in Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Make a list of practical ways your family could put each of these instructions into practice and discuss it with your husband. Together, pick one of these practices and implement it with your children this week.


Suggested Memory Verse

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Matthew 10:37

Christian women, Women

6 Reasons Godly Women are Stronger Than Feminazis

I’m working on a project I’ve got to get done this week (prayer appreciated!), so I’ll be re-running a few favorite articles from the archives in lieu of new content.

Originally published June 12, 2015

feminazis

Gloria Steinem. Bra burning. The ERA. “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar.” Maybe you remember them, or have at least heard of them. That was the heyday of feminism. It was going to be a new era of strong, powerful women. And they’re still fighting the battle today. Never let a man get the upper hand. Sacrifice whatever you have to for a successful career. And Christian women who submit to their husbands or choose to stay home with their children are sneered at or dismissed as weak, barefoot and pregnant ignoramuses.

But as any woman brave enough to follow in the footsteps of Christ can tell you, it ain’t necessarily so. Secular feminists will never understand the kind of strength it takes to strive towards godly womanhood.

1. Only the strongest of women can voluntarily relinquish the right to be in control.

It’s easy (at least for decisive, type A control-freaks like me) to walk into a room assess a situation, lay down the law, and expect your instructions to be carried out. It’s much harder to step back and hand off the decision-making to your husband, or to offer your input and stand aside and watch when he decides not to follow it. But God expects us to follow in the footsteps of our Savior, who voluntarily surrendered control of His very life to the men who took it from Him.

2. It takes a strong woman to trust God enough to put her life and her children’s lives into her husband’s hands.

Let’s just get real here for a minute. It can be hard to trust God sometimes. Even though we know He is perfect and has our best interests at heart, we can’t see Him or touch Him. We can’t ask Him a question and get an audible yes or no answer.

It can be even harder to trust our husbands. Even though we can see, hear, touch, and talk to them, we know all too well that they’re fallible. Sometimes they have their own interests at heart. Sometimes they mean well and still make the wrong decisions.

But God tells us to trust Him. Even when it’s hard. Even when we don’t understand what’s going on. Even when we think we could lead better than our husbands. We trust God enough to obey His word even when.

3. It takes tremendous strength to control our mouths.

James tells us “no human being can tame the tongue,” and all who have tried know how true that statement is. Still, God expects godly women to control our speech. We’re not to nag and be quarrelsome. We’re to speak wisely and kindly. Sometimes, we’re not to speak at all, but let our actions do the talking. The strength to bite your tongue or think before you speak? It’s a daily trial by fire for Christian women.

4. Godly women have to be incredibly strong to deal with the heartaches that come our way.

John once said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 4). While he was talking about his spiritual “children,” godly wives and mothers have that same joy when our husbands, children and loved ones are walking in the truth of the gospel. And unspeakable agony when they are not. We not only have to cope with the regular griefs of life that everyone experiences, we also must deal with the pain of those closest to us who rebel against Christ and His word, all the while trusting God and walking in His ways.

5. We must develop the godly strength it takes to stand against the culture.

It’s easy to do the godly thing when everybody’s rooting for you, but in a society that is openly hostile to biblical womanhood, we often (sadly, even in the church) find ourselves fighting our way upstream like so many spawning salmon. Many times, we are seen as – and called – doormats, uneducated, gullible, traitors to the cause of women’s rights. We must rely on the strength God has promised us to stand for godliness in the face of opposition.

6. Only strong, godly women can joyfully deny self and serve rather than being served.

In a “because you’re worth it” world, putting our own desires aside to serve our husbands, children, and others is utterly incomprehensible to many, and, often, even to ourselves. The flesh rears its ugly head again and again, demanding to have its every wish fulfilled by the very people God put us here to serve. It takes a mighty woman of God to do battle with that enemy, send it packing, humble herself, and tend to the needs of others. But we have been bought by the blood of a Savior who declared that He “came not to be served but to serve,” and we conform to His wishes, not our own.

 

They can push and nag and argue and boss and control. They can be soldiers, construction workers, CEOs, and President. They can wear the pants in their families and have cowed husbands. But the shrillest of feminazis will never know the strength it takes to be a godly woman, because what they’re attempting is miniscule compared to the high standard God calls His daughters to. And any fleshly strength they can conjure up couldn’t in a million eternities touch the supernatural, mighty, rushing force that is the power of the Holy Spirit which God promises to His own, enabling us to say, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

God doesn’t call us to have dominance over men, He calls us to become like a man, the God-man, Jesus Christ. And in our feebleness and brokenness, He gives us the power to attempt that feat of greatness for His glory. That, my sisters, is where real strength lies.

Mailbag

The Mailbag: How Can Christian Moms Raise Godly Men?

mailbag

How would you, as a Christian woman, raise a son to become a man in our modern effeminate culture? Obviously, fathers are ultimately responsible for this task (a woman can teach a boy many things, but she can’t teach him how to be a man), however, mothers do play a critical role.

This is such a great question. So great, in fact, that when I went to start answering it, I discovered I already had! Here’s an article I wrote for Kaylene Yoder’s blog last year: Six Ways to Raise a Godly Man.

godly-man

Boys. Aren’t they phenomenal? My husband and I have five boys ranging in age from 12 to 28. They’re loud, they’re gross, they’re physical, and I wouldn’t trade them for girls in a hot minute. While I love my daughter and the precious relationship we have as girls, I genuinely feel like God specially crafted me to be a mom of boys.

But boys will be boys, and girls will be girls, and sometimes, as “girls,” we moms need to think outside the pretty pink box of femininity in order to relate to, and rightly raise, these extraordinary creatures God has blessed us with. Here are six ways I’ve learned through the years to raise a Godly man.

1. Remember you’re raising boys.

Despite what you might hear from the scientific community, boys and girls are not the same except for genitalia. The way God wired them to see and relate to the world, think, react, and solve problems, is completely different from the way God wired girls to do these things. In 1 Corinthians 16:13, Paul tells the men of the church at Corinth:

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

There’s a certain way that men (and boys) act, and it’s not the same as the way girls act. God made them that way, and we must parent them like they’re boys, not anatomically male girls.

2. Make way for Daddy.

There have been so many times I have been tempted to baby my boys over bumps and bruises or give them a light scolding for disobedience. It took a lot of lip biting to stand out of the way while my husband told them to walk it off or got out the paddle for correction. But husbands know better than we do what it’s like to be a little (or big) boy. Point your boys to your husband as an example, and make sure you’re not getting in the way as they relate to each other “man to man”.

3. Tell them to take a lap.

One thing that moms often don’t realize about boys is that they are wired to need physical activity for their emotional, behavioral, and educational well being. Require them to sit still and be quiet for hours at a time, and you may have a son who gets that need for physicality out of his system by acting out behaviorally. God created boys with a need to run, throw, and hit, so honor His design by letting them.

4. Show them what a godly woman looks like.

They won’t be able to find a godly woman to marry one day if they don’t know what one looks like. Show them. Study your Bible. Pray. Repent and apologize when you sin. Submit to your husband. Manage your home well. Be hospitable. Serve your family and your church. Give them a gold standard to shoot for.

Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.
Proverbs 31:29

5. Instruct them, from a woman’s point of view, godly ways to honor women.

Because boys don’t think the way girls do, they need to be taught how women like to be treated by men. Boys tend to have an “every man for himself” mindset, so things like “ladies first,” opening doors for women, keeping bodily functions to themselves, and helping out around the house don’t always occur to them. They have to be proactively taught these things as a way of “serving one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).

(Oh, and by the way, they will never learn to keep bodily functions to themselves. Ever. Sorry.)

6. Realize the impact of your role in building godly men. 

Samuel, Jesus, Timothy. Godly men, all. And every one of them had a godly mother – Hannah, Mary, Eunice – who raised them to love and serve God. Don’t ever think of yourself as “just a mom.” God has given mothers the enormous responsibility and privilege of pouring the gospel into little boys and raising them to godly manhood. Thank Him for that and steward your influence well.

Boys are strange and wonderful little beings. There’s nothing like being a mom of boys to drive you crazy, drive you to your knees in prayer, and drive you to rise to the challenge of being a godly mom raising godly men.


If you have a question about: a well known Christian author/leader, a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Parenting, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Parenting Without Shame

Originally published March 5, 2015
parenting shame

I don’t know about you, but I find “pet shaming” pictures hilarious. You’ve seen them. They’re the ones that show something like a dog next to a chewed up tube of diaper rash ointment, and the dog is wearing a

Photo courtesy of "Life With Dogs." lifewithdogs.tv
Photo courtesy of “Life With Dogs.”
lifewithdogs.tv

sign around its neck saying, “I ate a tube of Desitin and barfed all over the new carpet during my family’s dinner party.” The funny thing to me is that the dog usually looks like he’s not the least bit sorry, and he’s certainly not ashamed. We can have a good guilt-free laugh at these silly pictures, because the dog has no idea what’s going on and isn’t feeling humiliated in the slightest. But what about the shaming of human beings?

Shaming as a form of punishment is nothing new. You read The Scarlet Letter in high school right? You’ve seen pictures of a one room schoolhouse with a child sitting in the corner wearing a dunce cap? More recently, we’ve seen judges sentence petty criminals to stand in a public place holding a sign confessing their crimes. But lately I’ve been seeing a parenting trend that isn’t funny or appropriate, especially for Christian parents: kid shaming.

This ten year old girl was lying about her age, sneaking out with boyfriends, and breaking her parents’ social media rules. So they forced her to wear a shirt declaring her age, along with a “little girl” hairdo and accessories

This barber offers parents free “balding man” haircuts for their misbehaving children.

This mom went to school with her teen-aged daughter, mocking, taunting, and videotaping her for skipping class.

If a child were doing this kind of thing to another child, we’d call it bullying, and everyone would be appalled. But if a parent does it and posts pictures of it on social media she’s hailed as an innovative disciplinarian.

Does kid shaming work to modify a child’s behavior? Sometimes. But as Christian parents, we are not called to merely modify our children’s behavior. We are called to cultivate the soil of their hearts, so that those little hearts may one day be fertile ground, ready for the seeds of the gospel and godly discipline. And shaming or humiliating a child doesn’t enrich that heart soil. It hardens it.

Children need discipline, but they need us to discipline them in a godly way. How do we discover the godly way to discipline? By following God’s example laid down in His Word. There are many reasons God presents Himself to us in the Bible as our Father. First, and foremost, it describes our relationship to Him: the depth of His love for us, His desire for what’s best for us, His authority over us. Our love for and dependence on Him, our desire to obey Him. But, secondly, God revealing Himself to us as our Father gives us a beautiful, perfect model to follow in parenting.

Want to know how to love your child? Look at the way God loves you. Want to know how to provide for your child? Look at the way God provides for you. And if you want to know how to discipline your child, look at the way God disciplines His children. Does God shame and humiliate us when we sin? No.

He disciplines us because He loves us…

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. Hebrews 12:6

He does not shame us into repentance, but draws us with His kindness.

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Colossians 3:21

He does not discipline to humiliate, but to train us in holiness and righteousness…

but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:10b-11

Sometimes God’s discipline is pretty intense, but it is always done in love and always to draw us away from sin and back to holiness, never to demean us. Our children are a precious gift, entrusted to us by God. We are to reflect God’s character to them as we walk with Him and seek to love and discipline them His way. Choosing a worldly way of correcting their behavior but not tending their hearts, well…that would be a shame.


THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT SATISFACTION THROUGH CHRIST.