Page 3 of 15

Myths about Homeschooling!!

I had the opportunity to share on Facebook about homeschooling and about a statement I hear all the time when I tell people I homeschool, “I don’t have enough patience to homeschool.” As a mom of 5 and a homeschooling momma I cant not tell how crazy this statement makes me feel. You made have heard this comment before or said it yourself, I know I feel like I don’t have enough patience EVERYDAY so I have said it myself!!! So I wanted to share four MYTHS about homeschooling, and work towards debunking some of these misconceptions.

1. You have to have EXTRA patience to homeschool, and some people are not equipped with that kind of patience. Well friends, I am here today to tell you that this statement is COMPLETELY FALSE!!! I know this to be true because I STRUGGLE GREATLY with patience, I am not a patient person. I believe that God has called our family to homeschool NOT because we have extra patience but actually because we are in NEED of GROWING our patience. You know that common joking reminder to people, that if they pray for patience they will not receive patience but instead receive opportunity to grow their patience. That is how I believe homeschooling is, we are  NOT equipped with MORE patience but we GROW in our patience.


2. Everyone who homeschool thinks that the public school systems and teachers are EVIL. This is completely FALSE! In fact, I was a fifth grade elementary teacher in the public school system before I had kiddos and got the chance to be a stay-at-home-momma, so I can tell you loud and clear that this is FALSE! I have met some amazing teachers, assistants, administration, coaches, janitors, and more! I have met people who view the profession as their ministry and feel called to serve the youth of our community! They are truly amazing individuals and are not evil in the slightest. Of course though we are sinful people living in a fallen world so there are some people, teachers and students who are not so great and are not mission-minded, and who live out their sinful desires. Unfortunately that is the reality we live in. So while this is completely false and a myth that we believe the public school system is evil, we also are passionate about the opportunity to be the ones who are the biggest influence on our kids as they are being educated. We as the parents get to be the ones to teach them in a controlled setting while they are young so we can teach, train and disciple. THEN as they grow and are equipped we get to send them out, as we are biblically called to. In fact, as we disciple our kiddos we get to train them to have a biblical worldview which is not the worldview that is accepted in our current age, and what is not being taught in the school system even with the most mission-minded teachers, because to be blunt they could loose their job if they did. My husband and I, through lots of conversation and prayer have decided that the best way for our family to teach a biblical worldview is to do it at home through homeschooling. Does this mean this is not possible to do for those who go to school? ABSOLUTELY FALSE,  YOU CAN STILL TEACH A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW!! But, Darren and I feel like it is just more difficult to do it when they are out of the house for 6-8 hours in the day being taught a non-biblical worldview, it is just simply hard to find intentional time when they are with you. (BUT DON’T GIVE UP IF YOU ARE NOT HOMESCHOOLING IT DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU CAN NOT ESTABLISH A WORLDVIEW! JUST GET CREATIVE AND INTENTIONAL!) 

3. The homeschoolers think that they have a better education and are smarter then public schoolers. This is simply NOT TRUE! The truth is that the public school system has some amazing resources, and some REALLY intelligent teachers in their specialties! In fact, Darren (my hubby) was homeschooled the whole way through from kindergarten to High School and can attest that he was so grateful to his parents for homeschooling but there are things he could have been “smarter” in if he went to school, but at the end of the day we all can’t excel in everything, and he got so many opportunities to do other things like: music, swimming, traveling, cooking, gardening, biblical studies, leading, serving, family relationships and more because he was homeschooled. Here is the other MAJOR factor is that each kiddos is DIFFERENT! They each have different strengths and weaknesses. Therefore we are each going to do well in some subjects and not well in others. Both homeschooling parents and public school parents should strive out best to work to NOT comparing our kiddos to others kiddos (easier said than done, I KNOW). Our passion to be raising households that serve the LORD, and help each kiddos to reach their potential that allows them to do this!

4. Homeschool kids are not socialized. (You knew this one was coming right!) Rest assured my friends this is FALSE!! While this was a concern before and could be still a concern today, I would like to point out that this is a concern regardless of educational choices! There are students who I went to school with (I was public school educated) that people were worried  about their “awkwardness” “shyness” “quirkiness” and at the same time Darren (who was homeschooled) saw the same in the homeschooled world. The truth is like I mentioned above we are ALL made differently and while some are outgoing, some are not, and while some are awkward some are … wait …. we are all awkward have you forgotten your middle school teenage years already? If you have, let me remind you: WE. WERE. ALL. AWKWARD!!! Because we were figuring life out! Let’s all give some grace!! I will note that I am super grateful for all the community building opportunities we have now that those before us didn’t have. Homeschoolers today have co-ops, organized homeschool learning groups, the ability to do public sports, online charter schools, social media homeschool momma/kid meet us and more! SERIOUSLY this is such a blessing to us who get the opportunity to homeschooling but desire to walk this journey with others! Bottom line: if you are awkward your kids will probably be awkward because you are socializing your kids to yourself NO MATTER IF THEY ARE HOMESCHOOLED OR NOT! You are helping develop their tastes, interest, likes and dislikes. You are the ones presenting the options of what to watch, do, read, etc. So we ALL should be concerned about socializations. Alright, did I cover and say enough about socialization? Kids = Awkward and we socialize our kids to ourselves regardless of education so really We = Awkward.

I’m sure there are more myths out there just waiting to be debunked but these are my top 4! I want to end by sending so much love and GRACE! If you are currently homeschooling:

If you are not homeschooling but are interested, PLEASE reach out if you have questions. It can be intimidating! But remember this you are not alone, there are so many resources out there and God will equip you not always the way you want Him to but I believe He desires to show and lead you in this journey.

IF YOU DON’T HOMESCHOOL please hear me LOUD and CLEAR: I LOVE YOU! YOU ARE LOVED! THERE IS NO JUDGMENT OR CONDEMNATION! Parenting is hard, but we are commissioned by God to pray and make the best decision for our family. So I would encourage you as parents sit down (or better yet go on a date) and talk about your education decisions for your family. AND if public school is what you both through prayer think is best then guess what: YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT CHOICE!!! Let the Holy Spirit convict you and guide you in the path of His righteousness! This parenting journey is hard (I KNOW IT!) and we are here for you on this walk!

Here is some fun memes… #sorrynotsorry couldn’t help it 😉

Scripture Memory

When I first had young kiddos I wanted to find valuable and easy to learn verse to start putting the Word of God into the hearts of my young! This year our church has been doing a focus of a verse for the month! All the kiddos from babies on up are hearing these verses repeated, and kiddos ages 2 and older are hiding these Words in their hearts! Praise God!

But, I ran into the problem of which verses should I do!? There are so many amazing scriptures that I desperately wanted to hide in the hearts of my children! So word of advice: just start! Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed at the amount of verse you want them to learn and just start! 🙂

Here are some suggestions for those wanting to JUST START! Remember young kiddos CAN do this! Our family have enjoyed so much using the resource below and feel free to join in!!!

Here is our verse we worked on in July, this is an amazing verse to remind us to always LOOK to the LORD! And great to use in different situations and seasons. Also when the kids memorize this verse, when they have a hard moment we can bring up the Word of God, saying comments like, “Look to Lord, Seek Him and He will guide us, calm us, and strengthen us.”  In our family, we also talked about how seeking is like hide-and-seek,  and when we play hide and seek what does the seeker do? Do they sort of look for the hider or do they search with excitement and focus? This is a great  opportunity bring the words of God to them in a relatable way!

In the month of August we focused on what it means to hide the Word of God in our hearts, and how memorizing it  is a part if it. Placing the Word of God in our hearts so when we need it we can find it. Again, we talked about when we put something into a special spot we can recall or bring it back to our mind quickly. But, sometimes we can forget where we have put things so what should we do to remind ourselves of these promises? Practice them!

September we rejoiced in memorizing Philippians 4:4 with a sing-song way. It has been fun to talk about what the word REJOICE means and the difference between joy and happiness.

Here is a sneak peak at the verse for October, which is right around the corner!

 

Happy Memorizing!!!

Table Manners RESOURCE!

With Fall coming right around the corner, this season seems to bring change to our family for the elements that have become lacks in the summer season. I love how in the summer we can be flexible, sporadic, last-minute, and allows more present-in-the-moments! Late dinners, picnics and BBQ’s are some of the fun elements of summer that we enjoy but sometimes is hard to keep our table manners in check. So with Fall coming we are re-teaching our table manners!

I did a Facebook Live the other day and had a LOT of friends wanting to see what our Table Manners print out looks like so I am sharing it here! (Make sure you follow us on Facebook for more Facebook LIVES and encouragement).

Table Manners DOWNLOAD HERE!

Hope you enjoy! And we would LOVE to hear what Table Manners are important to you!

WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT: 

A wise older friend cautioned me while teaching table manners (really teaching anything) to remember that these are super IMPORTANT years to cultivate teachable hearts but ALSO to ENJOY, LOVE-ON, and CONNECT. So make sure while teaching that is done alongside LOVE! We should all work not to be so rule driven that we drive away the relationship building moments.

Family Focus on Catechism’s

EXCITING NEWS!!!

Darren and I have taken a step of faith and decided to lead the Family Ministries at our local church. Our church (The Chapel) instead of having “Children Ministries” we have decided that since the structure laid out Biblically is that the family through the parents are a critical and commissioned role in the training and discipling of their children, we have created a ministry called “Family Ministries” which is all about supporting and encouraging the “Building of Households That Serve The Lord.” This is taken directly from Joshua 24:15, where the famous saying, “…. as for me and my household we will serve the LORD”  is found.

What do we do in “Family Ministries?” We work hard to provide resources to families to lead their families. During service on Sundays we have multiple ways this looks: we do family worship where are all the family sits together (all ages), we provide classes on Sundays in which we are starting a study on 52 catechisms of the Christian Faith, and every other month we provide an ALL family Sunday service where we teach and train the children to be in the “big” church. There are other resources we provide like time for moms and kids to encourage each other, Titus 2 approach to young men and women, and marriage groups to name a few.

Let us break down how the first three look.

ALL AGE WORSHIP SERVICE:

We strongly believe that worshiping together has several benefits, by worshipping together children have the opportunity to learn from our example as parents and from others in the body of Christ. Second our songs of worship are teaching doctrine and faith to our children. We should welcome them as part of our worship and teaching the same way Jesus did.

STUDY OF CATECHISM’S ON SUNDAY CLASSES:

What is Catechism?

Answer: A summary of the principles of our faith in the form of questions and answers.

Can you picture this, your son or daughter (or even you!) are hanging out with a friend and they ask a question about what we believe and WHY!? Are you prepared to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15)? That can be really tough if we are not prepared. So this year we are preparing households (parents, kids, singles, marrieds, grandparents … EVERYONE) to be ready with an answer for what we believe!

We will have so many resources that we will be sharing here on the RaisingRices.com Blog and Podcast. On Monday’s will come out with a Blog and Podcast with the Catechism of the week it will have the question, answer, and scriptural support. As well as, a podcast talking about ideas on how to implement conversations ideas into your family bible time about the catechism that the kids are learning. Lastly, we will be reminding you if the FREE app that can be download called NewCityCatechism which has MANY more resources including a SONG to help remember the Catechism (Question and Answer of the Week).

ALL AGE SUNDAY SERVICE:

We believe that this provides a great opportunity for families to have fruitful discussions about a common message or teaching that they heard together. We also believe that children should learn that they are an important part of the body of Christ, and that if we want them to grow in spiritual maturity they should be exposed to and around other followers of Christ and teachings that will stretch and grow that maturity. While they might not comprehend everything yet they will understand more and more from the adult teaching as they grow.

Stay Tuned Will We Be Starting The First Week in October!

Standing for Faith while Teaching our Kids

I have been recently convicted strongly about my role at home to be a spiritual example of the importance of apologetics and showing how to stand for truth in front of my home. You might be thinking to yourself, RIGHT ON! But HOW?

This is the area of growth for me, I believe the Holy Spirit is used to convict and bring to us opportunities of growth. My opportunity of growth has literally knocked on my physical door 3 times in the past month! And sadly every time they have come to me, I have not been prepared. What I am speaking of is the very sweet Jehovah Witness’s that have come to share a message with me.

Maybe you have found yourself in this setting in your own home. Here is how it plays out at our house; I open the door, my kids all run to the door with me to see who it is, and the JW’s share about love and invite our family to attend their gathering. Seemingly harmless, I just thanked them for their time, smiled politely and said good-bye. After closing my door and recycling their flyer they have given me, I hear the small voices of my children’s questions start pouring in:

 

“Who was that?”  – “Oh some people talking about what they believe”

“What do they believe? – “They believe in God the Father, but not the Trinity”

“Why did you throw the paper away?” – “Because I don’t need to keep it”

“But Why?” (You knew that was coming right?)

 

The WHYS of life, especially with a group of 5 kiddos, (most in the WHY stage) the WHYS come marching in 2-by-2 Hoorah Hoorah!

What is the plan? Where do I go from here? And what is the purpose of knowing the WHY’s?

 

The PLAN:

Go to scripture and research. Here is what I learned …

Jehovah’s Witnesses are a group of  believers who identify as Christians (composed of less than 1 percent of U.S. adults), their mission is to proclaim the truth about Jehovah.

JW’s call themselves Christians but do not consider themselves Protestants, for they do not believe in the Trinity as well as other things.  Let’s cover that Trinity piece a little more. As a Christ follower (Christian) I believe that God is the ONE true God, made up of 3 parts, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

 

 

JESUS CHRIST:

Jehovah Witnesses claim that Jesus was not divine, they believe that Jesus is God’s only direct creation, “the firstborn of all creation,” which is why he is called the “son of God.” Furthermore, since he is a created being they believe he is not part of the Trinity.

Is this important to know? YES! In regards to Jesus:

John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 10:9

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 6:23

For wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

This popular verse (John 3:16) you might have heard and even memorized yourself. After doing a bit of research on John 3:16, which by the way is used and quoted by the JW’s on their website, I learned something quite interesting. The Greek word eis(in) also gets translated as into. In addition, the word IN within our verse is a preposition, meaning it connects to another word, in our verse we are looking at him (referring to Jesus). Why do I say all of this? Well a lot of people believe IN Jesus Christ, that he was a person, in fact the Bible says even the demons know his name (Matthew 8:29 and Acts 11:15). On the JW’s website they communicate they believe in Jesus, even in this death and resurrection but they do not worship Jesus as they do not believe that he is Almighty God.  The difference between believing in and believing INTO is to receive Him and be joined to Him. John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” So here is the question: should we therefore worship Jesus? Answer: YES! Verse support: The Bible, but seriously the WHOLE Bible from New to Old This article HERE helps outline MANY verses of support, yet some highlights to bring to our attention are as follows:

 

  • Jesus during his time on earth allowed himself to be worshipped (Matthew 8:2, 9:18, 14:33, 15:25, 20:20, Mark 5:6-7, John 9:35-28)
  • Even the angels worship Christ (Hebrews 1:6)
  • “Every knee should Bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord,” The reference to bowing the knee is an act of worship

 

HOLY SPIRIT:

JW’s believe that the Holy Spirit is “active force” and not a person. They believe the Holy Spirit is a projection of His energy to accomplish His will. My understanding is that the JW’s believe the Holy Spirit does not work alone or have an his own identity, but is merely an effect of God.

I believe the Holy Spirit is God’s personal presence, not merely a force.   The Holy Spirit is there from the beginning and you can read from Genesis that God’s presence is present. We can see God’s Spirit throughout the Old Testament starting with Joseph while interrupting dreams, we also see God’s Spirit in the Prophets. The Hebrew word “ruakh” is used for the Holy Spirit. Ruakh can describe an invisible, powerful energy, and necessary for life. The Holy Spirit points towards Jesus always. For a video look at the Holy Spirit done by the Bible Project click here.

The Holy Spirit as a separate person is shown in Matthew 12:32 “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven , either in this age or in the age to come.”

Matthew 28:19 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

THE BIBLE:

WORD of warning: JWs believe the Bible is “God’s inspired message to humans.” In 1961 a JW corporation, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, published its own formal equivalence translation of the Bible: the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (NWT). As of 2015, the NWT has been translated in whole or in part into 129 languages. Since the release of the NT translation in 1950, this version has been criticized for changing the meaning and words of the text to fit JW doctrine. A prime example is John 1:1. Both the ESV and NIV translate that verse as, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The NWT version translates the passage as “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” The addition of the indefinite article “a” is added to avoid the conclusion that Jesus is God. Referring to this verse, Bruce M. Metzger wrote in 1953, “It must be stated quite frankly that, if the Jehovah’s Witnesses take this translation seriously, they are polytheists.” Despite a preference for the NWT, JWs still use other translations of the Bible in their witnessing work. (Taken from HERE )

Quick facts:

  • JW’s deny the existence of Heaven and Hell
  • JW’s do not celebrate Christmas or Easter
  • JW’s do not celebrate Birthdays
  • JW’s don’t accept blood transfusions
  • JW’s do not consider the cross to be a symbol of Christianity
  • JW’s do not believe in going to war or getting involved in political matters
  • JW’s do not call their building a church but rather “Kingdom Hall”
  • JW’s have no paid clergy
  • JW’s are among the most racially and ethnically diversereligious groups in America. According to Pew Research, no more than 4 in 10 members of the group belong to any one racial and ethnic background: 36 percent are white, 32 percent are Hispanic, 27 percent are black, and 6 percent are another race or mixed race. Roughly two-thirds (65 percent) are women, while only 35 percent are men. They also also tend to be less educated, with a solid majority of adult Jehovah’s Witnesses (63 percent) having no more than a high school diploma (compared with, for example, 43 percent of evangelical Protestants). (Taken from Gospel Coalition)

 

WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE:

Ok, I have researched, read scripture, prayed, and now what? For me, it is back to the basics. I need to make sure foundationally my kids understand truth. The biggest current issue to address for my family is to make sure I am pouring the foundation for the household of faith. Within my foundation I believe when it comes to faith, we need to teach our kids the truths of the trinity. Is this tricky? OH YES! It is tricky because it is a God thing that we can have ONE TRUE GOD but 3 PERSONS of GOD. I want to provide you with some resources we are using to help lay the foundation:

  • Our family has really enjoyed the picture book called 3 in 1 A Picture of God from Concordia Publishing House (www.cph.org)
  • We also have like the element of H2O, looking at the 3 states of matter (not plasma, and H2O is not a deity but provides a great visual to explain.) ICE, WATER, and STEAM they look different and have different roles but they are all H2O.
  • WE have also used the New City Catechism to help connect questions to answers to verses, this is a great resources for more than just the Trinity as well.

 

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF KNOWING THE WHY’S???

There are many reasons for having answers to the why questions, but if I may be so bold I would like to hyper-focus on one HUGE reason:

 

IF WE DON’T TEACH OUR KIDS TO ASK WHY AND FIND THE ANSWER WE RUN THE RISK OF THEM NEVER FINDING TRUTH

We HAVE to be able to ask why, and express doubt, this is how we grow, and establish our personal convictions.

As a personal note as a mom: I have never engaged in a conversation with a JW at my door, other then to be kind, let them speak and thank them for their time. And while I don’t picture myself as someone who would work to convince them of their fallacies, I do want to start showing my kids how to handle these types of conversations, with truth, kindness, and LOVE, always with LOVE! Lastly, one of the most powerful first steps is to start the conversations of whys at the dinner table. If you are a wife at home reading this, give your husband a heads up and game plan together about how to show and live out together speaking truth to your kiddos.

 

 

Supporting Articles:

How to explain that Jesus is part of the Trinity: HERE

JW.org was used to find the information on what Jehovah Witnesses believe

Francis Chan Meets Some Jehovah’s Witnesses: HERE

 

While I Wait

Wait

This post is shared with permission from Mary Rabe at Raphah Mama. It was originally published on her personal blog, but we wanted to share it with the readers here at Raising Rices as well. Enjoy!

I’ve never been very good at waiting. I’m more of a plan-and-act person: find the problem, discover solutions, and implement changes…BOOM, problem solved. I’m finding, though, that with some circumstances, this just doesn’t work. We can figured out the issue, find all the solutions we can, and start working toward change, but ultimately it’s going to take time for things to improve…and that means a lot of waiting.

I’m finding myself in this situation right now, where there is really not much more I can do to move forward. I’ve been faithful in doing all of the things I can do in my own power; now I have to let go and trust God to finish it and bring about the changes, healing, and growth I need in His timing. I’m waiting, and I have choices to make regarding how I will do that. Here are the things I am learning and trying to make purposeful decisions about while I wait.

worship-2082141_1920

  1. Will You Whine or Worship?

In church a couple of weeks ago I was reminded that there will always be things we have to do that we may not enjoy, but if we’re going to do it, why not do it right, with a good attitude? I hate to be the bearer or bad news, but we are all going to have to wait sometimes. God calls everyone to a season of “not yet” sooner or later, and it is in those times that we have  the choice to do it “kicking and screaming”, or purposely choosing to look to the One who has placed us  where we are for a very specific purpose; loves us more than we will ever comprehend; and promises to work all things out for our good.

There is an excellent song by Lincoln Brewster called “While I Wait”, and it has really spoken to my heart in this season. The words convey a purposeful choice to still worship God in spite of the pain and unknown in waiting for resolution:

Deep within my heart, I know You’ve won, I know You’ve overcome

And even in the dark, when I’m undone, I still believe it

I live by faith, and not by sight

Sometimes miracles take time

While I wait, I will worship; Lord, I’ll worship Your name

While I wait, I will trust You; Lord, I’ll trust You all the same

When I fall apart, You are my strength; Help me not forget

Seeing every scar, You make me whole; You’re my healer

I live by faith, and not by sight

Sometimes miracles take time

I live by faith, and not by sight

Sometimes miracles take time…

You’re faithful every day

Your promises remain

You’re faithful every day

Your promises remain

Though I don’t understand it I will worship with my pain

You are God, You are worthy; You are with me all the way

So while I wait, I will worship; Lord, I’ll worship Your name

Though I don’t have all the answers, Still I trust You all the same

There are going to be many times when God’s timing just isn’t ours, and we have to wait for Him to come through with the miracle, healing, and answers we long for. In these times, though, He is still worthy of worship. He deserves our praise, not only for all that He has already done and will eventually do, but even for what He is doing in the waiting (whether we see it or not). So we all have a choice to keep our eyes focused on ourselves—on what we long for, how long it is taking to get it, and how very painful and hard it is to wait—or on the Unchanging One who is always worthy of our praise.

umbrella-2863648_1920

  1. Will You Be Miserable or Make the Most of Things?

Until circumstances change and the desired answers and changes are provided, we can decide to sit around moping, grumbling, and depressed (yes, I have done this). Or, we can choose to find some kind of good in this waiting–or even better, create good in an otherwise very bad situation. I’m not at all saying this will be easy; in fact, in many cases it can be intensely difficult. The fact of the matter is, though, that grumbling about your circumstances will not make them change or improve any faster. All it will do is feed into your own misery and maybe even bring down the people around you. I’m not saying we shouldn’t share each other’s burdens or be honest with others about our struggles (just see my post on vunerability for more on that), but there is a difference between seeking support and help, and “venting” our yuckiness in order to gain sympathy or appreciation from others. (Yes, again, I’ve been guilty of this).

Instead of grudgingly “accepting” that things are just going to be bad now and waiting for them to get better, why not do what you can to make things as enjoyable as possible while you wait? Just this week I was taught a good example of this in my own life. The spring and summer are busy travel times at work for my husband, and he is often gone at least every other week for anywhere from 3-7 days each trip. After doing this routine for almost 3 years now, I’ve gotten pretty good about not feeling too anxious or upset by it. Yes, I miss my husband; of course the circumstances aren’t my favorite; things are definitely more challenging and tiring as a “solo mom”; and I am very much looking forward to when things ease up. I’ve grown to realize, though, this really isn’t the end of the world, and we will make it through this season. My counselor challenged me to take this one step farther: don’t just “make it through”, but make the most of it. She suggested I set up special things that are only done when Daddy is gone: unique meals, certain outings, little traditions, etc. “This way,” she explained, “the times when Daddy are home are good…and the times when he is traveling are good, too.” 

Someday my husband’s travel schedule will ease up, or he could get a less demanding job, or my kids will be old enough for me to leave behind so I can join him on more of his travelling adventures. I don’t want to miss out on the joy and fun this season could have while I’m waiting, though! I want to make special memories with my kids so they look back on Daddy’s travel as special times with Mommy and not just a hard thing we survived but didn’t really like. What can you do, now, to make the most of the waiting time you are in?

people-2604282_1920

  1. Will You Tremble or Trust?

I completely understand the feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and dread that can surface while waiting. Whatever you are waiting for–change, healing, improvement, adjustment–any kind of delay can cause a lot of fear. The Bible even speaks to this experience: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” says Proverbs 13:12. I’ve had moments in my own waiting that I have crumpled into panic, wondering if things really will ever get better, or if it will always be “like this”. That fear can easily spiral into defeat and ultimately despair if we don’t battle it. The next part of the verse, though, gives us the answer in how to win that battle: “…but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” We can choose to trust that God will bring about what we are waiting for. It may not look exactly like we envision or hope, but things are not going to be this way forever; we will not be waiting and wondering for the rest of our days. Beyond that, we have ultimate hope in remembering and trusting that God is going to use every single part of this waiting for our good. It really comes down to that same lesson I myself keep coming back to: letting go (of our need to control, have answers, fix the problems, just be happy again)…and let God do what He wants to do instead.

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“We know that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him.” (Romans 8:28) 

Waiting isn’t easy, and can be very painful and humbling. However, when we are called to these times, I believe we will learn more, grow faster, and draw nearer to God when we make the purposeful choices to worship Him, make the most of the time, and trust our loving Father…no matter how long it takes.

1.

Mary Rabe is a stay-at-home mama of 3 kiddos that she enjoys the privilege and blessing to homeschool. She is right in the thick of the “little years” with all her kiddos 7 and under, so it is a busy season, for sure, but also so much fun! She and her husband Jed have been married for 10 years and have loved to have had the chance to “grow up” together after marrying young. Mary says, “I am a recovering perfectionist learning how to let go of control and just trust my amazing Heavenly Father to take care of things for me (which is why I chose the word “raphah” for my blog, the Hebrew word for “let go”). I am still learning and growing a lot, just a young mama being refined and matured in this grand adventure of life, but I pray that what I write will bless, encourage, and inspire each of you in your unique journeys.” 
You can visit Mary’s blog at https://raphahmama.blogspot.com/.

Our “New” Trailer

Darren and I have been doing a lot of vision casting for our family. What we want, and how to achieve a vision of our family. There are many areas in our family life that we are excited to grow in the coming future, however one that REALLY excites us right now is: CAMPING!

We both grew up in families that camped together. In fact, the majority of our growing up family vacations consisted of camping. Elements of fresh air, tech-free, togetherness was just what the doctor ordered. When we think back to our experiences we remember: vulnerable and deep conversations around the camp fires eating a s’more, walking among God’s creation while breathing in the fresh smell of peace, and family games with laughter and homemade camping cookies.

As we looked at what we desired for our family, we both were in excited agreement that camping must be in our future.

Darren and I both grew up with tent camping, which was a memory in itself. Our first years of marriage and first baby we followed through on the tradition of tent camping. Then when baby number two was born we were blessed by our parents with a tent trailer.

I have this horrible (but awesome) desire to Pinterest-fy all things, so with my excitement and Pinterest inspiration we redecorated the tent trailer.

We loved this little tent trailer and all the wonderful memories we made it in, but once baby number 5 hit we were blessed with a new addition to our trailer family. A wonderful man at church had a friend selling his 31 foot, sleeps 10, cougar trailer. It was a perfect match, price and all! But once again the Pinterest fein in me felt that temptation to redecorate and make it our own.

Here are the BEFORE:

 

And here are the DURINGS:

Lastly, here are the AFTERS:

We can say we are officially we are ready for camping season 🙂

We are Happy Campers 😉

For Every Season

This post is shared with permission from Mary Rabe at Raphah Mama. It was originally published on her personal blog, but we wanted to share it with the readers here at Raising Rices as well. Enjoy!

Something God has been spending a lot of time teaching me lately is about dealing with different “seasons” in life. Sometimes we are in a time of hopefulness and new beginnings, planting dreams and watching them start to sprout to life, like in springtime. Other times life is as carefree and happy as summer, filled with happy memories and sweet moments, drifting along in a relaxed and peaceful way. Sometimes we are in a time of hard work and transition, vacillating between enjoying the harvest of our efforts and grieving the endings of things, as we do in autumn. And sometimes, we hit an emotional “winter” in life and deal with intense storms, darker days, or a “coldness” in our spirits. No matter what season we are in though, God has gifts, lessons, and purpose in each one. Here are some of the things He is teaching me.

1. Change Your Perspective

It is all too easy in difficult phases of life to shut down, “hole up”, or just grit our teeth and muscle through. All of these responses have the potential to keep us from seeing all that God has for us in each season, though. As hard as it is, we can choose instead to live purposefully in each season, to avoid the very real temptation to escape or just survive, and put forth the effort to see what God has for us.
A few weeks ago one of my littlest buddies set a powerful example of this for me. Every once in a while I get to take one of my close friends’ adorable daughters on a “date” with me to my dance class, and on this evening I had her 7-year-old with me. We were riding in the car together, discussing everything from Baby Alive dolls to the weather, and were just enjoying the company and conversation. Eventually we started talking about summertime, and about how much we were looking forward to sunshine and getting to go swimming and enjoy warm weather again. “I do love sunshine,” she said happily. Then, after a brief pause, she added, “But I also love the rain. Cuz then we can splash in the puddles and have hot chocolate!” I felt a gentle prodding in my spirit from my Heavenly Father. “Did you hear that? Did you notice that perspective?” This precious girl had found a gift in something that most people here in the Pacific Northwest barely tolerate at best, and usually have become quite fed up with by this time in the year.
I smiled at my little friend and commented, “I love your positive attitude! It’s so good that you are able to look and see something good, when a lot of other people just complain. But there are good things in every season, right?” She enthusiastically jumped on board, “Oh yes!! Like in the winter we get to play in the snow and go sledding, and then have hot cocoa!” (I think she really likes hot chocolate.) She got quiet for a second and then said, “We could whine about having to wear puffy coats in the winter. Or getting wet in the rain.”
“Yeah, we have to choose to either see the good stuff or the yucky stuff, huh?”
“Yeah. I like the good stuff, though.”
And we spent the rest of the drive talking about the best parts of every season, and what gifts God has in each one.
Like my wise little friend did that night on our car ride, we need to change our perspective so we aren’t focused only on the difficulties in each season of life.

2. Savor the Unique Blessings

I am a total “snow grinch”; I really, really don’t like it when it snows. It makes me anxious to be stuck at home, dressing my kids in their snow gear, and dealing with cold and wet and inevitable sickness that comes for weeks after the snow is gone. However, the weather where I am has called for a lot of snow lately, more than we usually get, so I have to make a choice: will I hole up inside, muttering and grumbling about how much I hate the snow until spring finally shows up? Or, will I be purposeful and try to find whatever good things I can in this season? On our last snow day, I decided to try to make a bucket list of things I wanted to do when it snows, things that we could only do in snowy weather, so that it was special and unique to this season. Just like that, we can make our own “bucket lists” of things we want to do in each of life’s unique seasons.
Right now part of my season in life is preparing to say goodbye to one of my close friends as she moves forward in God’s calling on her life. My “bucket list” is full of things related to that–savoring each moment I get with her, doing all that I can to support her and help her prepare for her big adventure, and finding ways to help myself and others in our group deal with the grief of this transition. The circumstances are not my favorite; in fact, they are sometimes agonizing. However, knowing I am doing all I can to find gifts and blessings in this time has made it so much richer and more meaningful, and I know it will not be “wasted”.
We can do this no matter what our circumstances in life are. Are you in a season of isolation, unable to leave the house to be with others? Maybe a bucket list item could be to maximize the extra alone time to work on a project or hobby that doesn’t lend itself well to lots of people being around, or to focus your efforts on projects around the house. Or maybe you have the opposite situation, and you find yourself stuck in your car a lot, in a season of driving all-the-people all-the-places all-the-time? Find yourself an awesome worship playlist, podcast, or audiobook and turn those hours of driving into something sweet and “filling-up”. It isn’t always easy to find the unique goodness that different seasons hold, but if you really pause to look for it, I promise you will always find it. Our God is so, so good, and that doesn’t change just because our circumstances do.

3. Remember There is A Reason for Every Season

God uses every stage of our lives to develop us into who He wants us to be. He uses the good times to show us His love, cause us to praise Him, and sometimes to test us and see if we will still rely on Him when things are going well. And He uses hard times to grow character in us, strengthen our faith, and forge stronger bonds with Him and others. Those are just a few examples; there are so many other lessons, growth, and outcomes that God gives us whether things are going well or are so hard we struggle to even get out of bed.
Sometimes I believe God even uses seasons as a source of protection and preparation. I had breakfast with a friend a few weeks back and she mentioned something that really struck me. It was just after I had written the post on “blooming where you are planted“, so the idea of plants and gardening was still fresh in my mind. My friend’s husband works for a nursery, and she mentioned off-hand that they were worried about the weather turning warm too early. To combat this, they were placing the plants into a chilled, dark storage unit so that they wouldn’t bloom early and end up being killed by the next frost. This hits home for me because the “winter” season I am in has felt so long and so hard, and I am longing for spring (both literally and figuratively). My friend’s comment reminded me, though, that my Gardener knows what He is doing. He is keeping me in a dark, cold season for a purpose. If things get better too quickly, it won’t prepare me for the next “frost” that could come around. Maybe the season you are in is doing the same for you, preparing you for what is coming up next, and protecting you from premature “blooming”? God never wastes a season. He has a purpose, plan, and perfect outcome for every single one. 

God tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” God brings us into different seasons of life for a reason, and He has unique lessons, blessings, and growth for each one. There are some seasons we will enjoy and savor and wish would never end…and there are some that we aren’t sure we will even survive. We need to remember, though, that God uses every single one in specific ways, and each one provides us with things we cannot receive any other way. I hope you will each join me in trusting our loving Heavenly Father and looking to Him as we walk through each season, whether that means trekking through the trials and pain of winter, or dancing through the glorious hope and joy of spring.

1.

Mary Rabe is a stay-at-home mama of 3 kiddos that she enjoys the privilege and blessing to homeschool. She is right in the thick of the “little years” with all her kiddos 7 and under, so it is a busy season, for sure, but also so much fun! She and her husband Jed have been married for 10 years and have loved to have had the chance to “grow up” together after marrying young. Mary says, “I am a recovering perfectionist learning how to let go of control and just trust my amazing Heavenly Father to take care of things for me (which is why I chose the word “raphah” for my blog, the Hebrew word for “let go”). I am still learning and growing a lot, just a young mama being refined and matured in this grand adventure of life, but I pray that what I write will bless, encourage, and inspire each of you in your unique journeys.” 
You can visit Mary’s blog at https://raphahmama.blogspot.com/.

“Me Too”

Me Too.jpgThis post is shared with permission from Mary Rabe at Raphah Mama. It was originally published on her personal blog, but we wanted to share it with the readers here at Raising Rices as well. Enjoy!

If you spend any amount of time on social media these days, you are bound to run into something having to do with being vulnerable, open, or real. In our culture today there is almost a “vulnerability movement” of sorts, with people all over urging us to be “real” and “honest”, sharing our true feelings and beliefs in courage and strength, and not being afraid to let others see our “true colors”. While I completely agree with the idea that we should be ourselves, I think that we can take this too far and turn “being vulnerable” into some kind of show all about us. 
The definition of vulnerability is “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm”. It is weakness, while the messages of our culture relating to “being real” stem more from a desire to be “strong enough to be vulnerable”.
 If we use openness to try to earn acceptance from others, to attempt deeper connections solely with other people and not God, to point to ourselves in any way, or to simply follow the cultural pressure to “be real”, we are completely missing the point. Kelsiklembara at Relevant Life Magazine’s website said it well in the article “The Part of Vulnerability No One Talks About”:

“…the ability to become vulnerable flows from our assurance in Christ, not our assurance in Instagram likes or comments. When we choose to look for our worth and value in baring our hearts (in both good and bad situations!), we lose sight of both Christ and the good that can come from vulnerability… Making vulnerability a cultural “have-to” ironically turns it from something that points us to Christ in our deficiencies and instead keeps us in the dangerous cycle of trying to prove our own strength. When we put our hope in our actions rather than in Christ, you better bet that sooner or later we’ll find our eyes glued to ourselves without any ability to look outward toward Christ or to others. Because Christ was perfectly vulnerable for you and for me, we are free to openly express our feelings, without feeling the pressure that we have to.”(https://relevantmagazine.com/article/the-power-and-danger-of-vulnerability-no-one-talks-about/)

With that said, I think there is a way to be genuine and open with others in a way that honors God and blesses others. This kind of vulnerability isn’t ultimately about us at all, but is another way to showcase God’s work and grace in our lives. Here are some things God is teaching me about “God-centered vulnerability”.

1. Why Be Vulnerable? 


Why should being open and vulnerable even be something we consider? I think there are multiple reasons, but one main one is that being vulnerable with the right people can protect us from Satan’s attacks. When we try to hide away our struggles–believing we are alone in them, that no one would understand, or that we need to “keep it together” in order to help others–we isolate ourselves and give Satan the perfect opportunity to attack. Remember, Satan is like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). Anyone who has seen Animal Planet knows that lions and other predators single out prey that is weak, sick, or alone; and the Enemy of our Souls is no different. Satan wants us to think that we are the only ones who struggle with (fill in the blank) so that we clam up and try to hide the truth from others. Shame is one of his biggest calling cards, and if we fall prey to it we open ourselves up to a whole lot of hurt. By confessing our struggles with the right people (more on that later), we also invite them to fight with us and to remind us of God’s Truth, and Satan isn’t able to take us down as easily. 

2. Know Your Real Value. 

The first step in even being capable of real vulnerability is being firmly set in your true, unchanging value. I think a fairly common struggle that I also have to fight against is wanting people to like us–all the people. Call it people-pleasing, codependency, or plain old “fear of man”; it has been a problem for me for as long as I can remember, and I know is something that many others deal with. The fact is, though, we can’t be liked by everyone.  We can’t expect everyone to enjoy the “flavor” of personality that God has given us. So, placing any sense of our personal value in the hands of sinful, fallible people is a guaranteed loss. We need to base our value on what God says, because His view of us never changes.

  • He created you, on purpose, exactly how you are, for a reason. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14)
  • He loved you enough to send His Son to save you (even when you were at your very worst). but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
  • He has a purpose for you that only you can carry out, and that He created you specifically for. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) 

We need to let these truths sink deep into our hearts, dwell on them, pray about them, and believe them! Only then will we be able to have the courage to risk being vulnerable with others, because we will remember that even if people reject or dislike what they see, our God-given value isn’t changed one little bit. 

3. Remember Perfection is Not a Thing.

“To err is human” or so the saying goes. So why do we all work so hard to try to appear perfect? Imperfection and struggle is just part of being a fallen human; as much as I strive to live out all the things I long to be, it just isn’t possible to do that all the time. Even the Apostle Paul confessed to struggling with this: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15) Nobody gets everything right all the time. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) And yet still, there are so many times I find that I am comparing myself to others. “Wow. I can’t believe he doesn’t struggle with that like I do. I wish I was more like him.” “She has so much wisdom. Why can’t I just think like she does?” Most of my comparisons end up elevating others above myself, but there are times I am ashamed to find that I think I am better than someone else. You know what, though? God sees every single believer exactly the same–redeemed sinners, forgiven and covered by His Son’s blood. Not one of my precious brothers and sisters in Christ are better or worse than me. We all have the same value, the same redemption, and the same ultimate end-goal of being more like Jesus. We have different strengths and weaknesses, but none of us is closer to perfection than anyone else. Only God Himself is perfect, and none of us will attain that until we join Him in Heaven. Just remembering that is encouragement to be more open with the other imperfect people around me.

4. Being Open Often Helps Others.

There have been a handful of times in my life that someone has opened up and shared with me in a very vulnerable way, and I am always blown away by how that blesses and helps me. I have never once felt less regard, respect, or affection for someone I love who has “let their walls fall down” for the moment and allowed me a glimpse of the real person inside. It’s pretty silly, then, for me to fear that my close relationships would do any differently to me. Sure, it could happen; being vulnerable carries a risk of heartbreak because we live in a fallen world with imperfect people (remember the point above?) I think the general, overriding truth, though, is that people are helped and honored when we open up to them. In my own life, I have been healed from deep hurt, set free from Satan’s lies, inspired to keep going in a tough situation, drawn closer to God, and been blessed with closer fellowship with others all because someone was willing to be genuine and real. Why would I want to hinder others from experiencing that by refusing to be vulnerable with them?

5. We Need to Have Wisdom in How Open to Be, and With Whom.

Now. With all of this said, there is still a balance to be had. We don’t want to be people who go around spilling our deepest heart secrets to every stranger we bump into, or to those we don’t know very well (and who don’t really know us). There are several reasons for this. First, it takes a relationship to be able to accept vulnerability. Beyond us needing to feel safe with people we are close to in order to share openly, even the receiver of vulnerability needs to have at least some level of relationship with us in order to feel comfortable to hear our hearts. Sharing intense openness with someone who doesn’t know you well will often just make them feel uncomfortable. It’s wise to take time to build a relationship with someone before you pour out your soul to them.
Next, people who don’t know us well won’t be able to speak into our lives and receive our vulnerability like those that know us well would. 
They won’t appreciate it in the same way, and likely won’t be as impacted by it since they don’t have the same knowledge of who we are as our closer relationships do.

Finally, we need to remember that vulnerability is being willingly weak with others, and it requires discernment and wisdom to decide if the people we are sharing with are trustworthy and capable of handling our openness with discretion, grace, and Christlike love. We aren’t required to share everything with everybody, nor should we. There is a difference between being open in a God-honoring way and being careless with the deep things of our hearts. 

Ultimately, we want our vulnerability to draw us and others closer to God. This is something that Steven Lee at Desiring God calls “Redemptive Vulnerability”:

“To be vulnerable is to be susceptible to being wounded or hurt. In the context of community, vulnerability is opening up about one’s humanity. It’s to admit that we are not perfect people. We have not arrived. We are broken, unfinished people who live in a world that itself is broken because of the fall. We experience depression, burn out, cancer, sadness, death, grief, disability, disease, relational strife, loneliness, lust, anxiety, and the list goes on. But our story doesn’t need to end with brokenness. Redemptive vulnerability — a vulnerability that leads to life — is where we share our brokenness in order to display the surpassing power and sufficiency of Christ and the gospel, which transforms us increasingly into the likeness of Christ. Vulnerability is not an end in itself. Rather, our vulnerability should point us, individually and together with other believers, to the sufficiency of Jesus. It looks at and hopes in the redemption we have in Christ Jesus and the work of the cross.”(https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/give-your-weakness-to-god)

Like everything else in our lives, we can use vulnerability to showcase God’s grace and work in our lives, and fulfill the call to always and continually point to Him. With that in mind, I hope you’ll join me in God-Centered vulnerability, being genuine and open with trustworthy people in order to point them to God (and be pointed to Him yourself).

 

1..jpgMary Rabe is a stay-at-home mama of 3 kiddos that she enjoys the privilege and blessing to homeschool. She is right in the thick of the “little years” with all her kiddos 7 and under, so it is a busy season, for sure, but also so much fun! She and her husband Jed have been married for 10 years and have loved to have had the chance to “grow up” together after marrying young. Mary says, “I am a recovering perfectionist learning how to let go of control and just trust my amazing Heavenly Father to take care of things for me (which is why I chose the word “raphah” for my blog, the Hebrew word for “let go”). I am still learning and growing a lot, just a young mama being refined and matured in this grand adventure of life, but I pray that what I write will bless, encourage, and inspire each of you in your unique journeys.” 
You can visit Mary’s blog at https://raphahmama.blogspot.com/.