The Gift beyond price.

A Gift Beyond Price

Nurturing five young children is anything, but easy. Our family had a routine dental appointment. My husband and I decided to walk by the beach first; the dental surgery was not far from the pier. It all ended up in a big rush. Parking in tiny street spaces was a challenge. My husband was repeating as a consolation: ‘When they were building towns in England, they didn’t have cars in mind.’

‘Yes, the world is changing.’ The children were already miles ahead when it came down to the computers.  I’ve prayed that they will be just as hungry for the spiritual knowledge.

The minute we came in, an elated receptionist enquired for our surname. There was a generous choice of magazines on the display. My four-month-old baby, who just recovered from a nasty chest infection, seemed content. The older children were already absorbed into an imaginative make up game.

‘What bliss,’ I thought, landing in a chair. I knew why God intended for believers ‘to be fruitful and multiply’, they will long for heavens rest more! My eldest, Laura, immersed in the world of fashion. She found it entertaining to look at the price tags. Maths is her favourite subject.

Soon Laura was tagging on to my sleeve.

‘Look, mum’, she pointing at a plain blouse with a tag of 180 pounds. ‘Why pay a fortune for a top?!’

‘Mum, have a look at this!’

She passed the magazine.  A framed tropical heaven, where women sat, with pearly teeth and ocean matching eyes, on white sand in UGG boots, lured you in. Turquoise water was shimmering in a distance.

Our holiday to Greece came to mind. We visited a Turtle nesting beach. The cigarette butts covered the sand. Turtles were nowhere in sight. Here, even if the sheep skins weren’t your preferred footwear, the boots reflected an ultimate fusion of comfort and fashion, with an inaccessible paradise as a backdrop! As almost implying: ‘Buy the boots and you feel the same as us.’ Looking at the price tag, I closed my eyes. ‘Who would not pay to imitate such a dream?’ I knew from experience. Exchanging looks with my daughter, we had a hidden secrecy flash between us.

My boys enjoy skateboarding. Comfortable shoes are vital. Re-energized, I faced the boys. I knew that when the Holy Spirit gets involved, it is a success.

‘Would you like to hear a fascinating story?’

‘What is it about, mum?’ – inquired Daniel, a fact collector.

‘Boots and faith.’

‘Go on.’

‘Look at this photo,’ I’ve passed the magazine closer to them.

‘These are genuine sheepskin boots. One of the best on the market.’

‘They’re pricey,’ – my fact-collector observed.

‘Highly skilled people worked hard to produce them.’

‘I would not mind having a pair, Laura cut in promptly.

‘We had tried to buy a pair on the Internet, but fell right into the fraud net!’ Laura’s face showed that she hasn’t forgotten about it.

‘Remember a parcel that arrived with a fake sheep skin boots?’

‘Life can be just like that,’ I continued. ‘Often we come across people who are not genuine. They will disappoint or hurt us.’

Seeing that I got all of their attention, I pressed on:

The Bible says: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’

‘As long as you believe these words, you don’t need to fear. This fact makes all the difference.’

I’ve made an eye contact with Laura:

‘You might not have these boots. Remember what God offers – the pleasure of being in His presence forever. He sent His Son to be slaughtered as a sheep, that you and I have a chance of knowing and enjoying Him. God’s word says only faith is required. No price tag.’

They all were staring at me amused,  but illuminated in their thinking.

‘Who’s in?’ – I extended an invitation.

‘I am, I am, I am,’ all three boys shouting at once, while Laura seemed lost in her thoughts.

The Holy Spirit had unveiled eternally rooted, unchanging truth to their small, yet inquiring minds.

The dental nurse opened the door, with look of astonishment, staring at the boys:’ One at a time, please, you are eager to check your teeth!’

‘Seek Him while He may be found’! – precisely what we have done while waiting for a routine dental appointment.

A poncho.

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             ‘He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.’ I. Watts

             for all my dear single friends – REJOICE – you do not have ‘ this itchy problem’!

My mum came to visit us this year.  She had brought knitting wool that  I thought would make into a lovely poncho. The minute my mum feels it is an inspirational idea, she is on it. Next thing I know she is already knitting away.  A couple of days later, voilà, a sheer piece of art, my new poncho, was ready!

It looked simply stunning. I could not wait to try it, but the minute I did, it felt so itchy. Unbearable to wear! The weather was still sunny and hot. I had a T- shirt on and the wool was rubbing on my bare skin. All I wanted  to do is to get rid of it.  A Russian wool.  It looked the best quality ever…. but at the same time you could not enjoy it.  I can’t wear synthetic ‘wool’.  Instantly I feel like a Sweaty Betty.  All I could do is to laugh through this disappointment. Russia, as a country, is an amazing place, but …… if you have  ‘an itchy problem’, you will be tested to the core and  you can’t  express your ‘weaknesses’ about it. I remember, before I left for California, the missionaries in Moscow were about to lose their place  to stay. It was a time of trials in the heart of  the winter, the weather outside was -30 C at least, not the best time for moving. … if you have somewhere to move! The doors were slammed  in our faces anywhere we tried. I could never forget that feeling when you desperately need help, you wait for it, pray for it, but it doesn’t come soon enough.  My prayer partner and I had to go on two-week fast because we weren’t ready to show our ‘weakness’ about it. At times like that people’s character and faith in God are on a  ‘wool’s core test’ !

So,  this time I wasn’t willing to give in to some insignificant ‘itchy’ problem that this wool caused. Even though often little ‘itchy’ problems in relationships cause great damage. Like those little foxes ruining massive vineyards. I kept taking to friends about this ‘little itchy problem’. A friend suggested I rinse it off with ‘Comfort’. Strangely enough I had a bottle of ‘Comfort’ just sitting in the kitchen. My mother in law kindly gave  it to me ( unlike many Californians, in Britain everyone dries their clothes in the fresh air. It saves a fortune on the electricity bill, but it makes your clothes, especially the towels as a ‘sandpaper’).  The sheer smell of ‘Comfort’ knocks me off my feet though. No wonder I’ve  used it.  The deceptive label on the front of ‘clear blue skies and flowers’ only adds fuel to fire my anger. But out of  desperation I considered it. I don’t know how I survived this synthetic smell (the whole country does)  that seemed to penetrate my entire house! But I love the name, it is 10 out of 10  for the marketing department. This makes me think of the Holy Spirit who alone is effective in eliminating the ‘itchy problem’ in relationships, no wonder he is called  a Paraclete (Gr. παράκλητος, Latparacletus) meaning an Advocate or a Helper or…. a Comforter!

While I dealt with the ‘itchy problem’, I got thinking about family life. That’s what my every day looks like – time with the family.  Thinking while cleaning (that’s one positive point to such a frequent activity) is so useful. I remember having the most profound thought while cleaning the bottom of my wedding dress right after my marriage. It seemed to become a good habit. Having 13 years of marriage behind me now, I had first hand experience of what it feels like for two sinners to be married.

Not so long ago, I’ve noticed that I’m ‘a true daughter of Eve’. It only took  me many years of prayer  to realize. May be because I was busy having babies. But when I do get enlightened on something specific at long last, it is a BIG BOOM  effect. I find it so incredibly hard to admit my faults to others, especially my immediate family. Human sinful nature desires adoration at all cost, so why ruin it with those you see  daily?  My first reaction, even before I think about it properly, usually was: ‘ No, that was not me. NO, it is not like that. I haven’t said that. No, I haven’t done it.’ When I think about it not being emotionally involved, I’m rather astonished myself. But as two sinners rub on to each other as a wool does on bare skin, it will create a ‘itchy problem’.

On the other hand, my husband doesn’t have this particular ‘pride problem’ in a large dose as I do. He says almost straight away: ‘Yes. it was my fault.’ It spoils everything: you can’t further blame him, you can’t argue to find him guilty, you can’t do any further emotional accusations’ that much  with the person who plainly admits his fault except praise him and appreciate him in your heart. Such person isn’t ‘itchy’ to be around.

I’m convinced that most couples that I’ve met, both Christians and not, were matched perfectly. They balanced and complimented each other in so many ways. The first couple that comes to mind were my parents. My dad was an extreme introvert and a very private person. My mum knew every neighbor and beyond. She is the one who was on parent’s school committee and everywhere else. Their characters, joined together, were complete. But the ‘itchy problem’ of sin that Satan had created in the garden of Eden (remember Adam and Eve sewing clothing out of fig leaves to cover themselves) never goes away…. until God Himself interfere. It doesn’t matter how well matched and suited couples are. They will suffer with the ‘itchy problem of sin’ cause the enemy will make sure of it. Perhaps He starts his attacks with Christian couples, gets nowhere with some, defeats the others and goes in circles again and again. He is a powerful spiritual being, in fact more powerful than any human. That’s why a perfect character match, physical attraction and even higher intellect is simply not enough to keep the family safe from his attacks.  God Himself had to sacrifice an animal and use their skin to cover the first disobedient couple. Universally, in spite of an incredible, unfathomable technological progress, this problem of marriage between two sinners  remains just as unsolved outside of Jesus and His sacrifice for the sin.

One gifted counselor noticed something. He had a couple in this office that needed some help in their marriage. The problem seemed serious, but no one was claiming responsibility for it.  He said: ‘This is rather fascinating: a big problem and two innocent people. Even I can’t solve it.’

What I believe is helpful is to learn from each other and copy each other good qualities. Ask for forgiveness often. ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ This is the best spiritual daily exercise I know of . So, the first thing you want to know about a person you are about to marry, how is their prayer life? I would.  Over time it is only going to get more difficult and complicated with children coming along. It will make a wife stationary for a while in life, will strip her figure for a time or for good, will limit the time a couple has to themselves and the list can go on and on and on….

A very good illustration about copying each other qualities is this.  When I was first married I could not stand French brie or Camembert cheese. I didn’t even know if I liked ‘curry’ either. My husband loved Indian food & French cheese.  Over the years I fell in love with those two myself. Likewise, what is more important, some of the godly qualities  rubbed off on me as well. My husband was  so quick to forgive. I loved to sulk. He hated arguments. I loved to prove my point. So, over the years I had a good, opposite example to copy and pray about it. In his turn, my husband became a bit more expressive in his emotions. Early on in marriage, he told me that he could not understand how his mum would cry while watching a film: ‘this is not real at all ?’ I thought to myself:’ Oops. I would do the same if the story was moving!’  He became more compassionate, patient and generous among other things. And that is  one of the purposes of marriage I’m sure – to become more like Jesus ‘who is sweeter than a honeycomb‘. There is no better way than rub against someone who will speak ‘truth in love’ to you day in and day out. When we got married we both thought that we loved the Lord and were spiritual people. Only after a short while together, we doubted whether we are Christians at all ?!!  I’m sure this doesn’t have to be so intense and dramatic for all couples, but refining fire is not a joke at times.  Just have to keep your perspective fresh on what is going to come out of this.

We are both far from perfect yet. But we understand the Lord is still chipping away extra pieces from His masterpiece. He wants to make sure it won’t have a ‘itchy affect’ at all.  In fact, no fashion would be necessary. Imagine how much money can be saved?! Hey, who will think about money then. Hard to imagine yet. We love out assets now.  Don’t you love the definition of ‘an asset’ = ‘ is a resource controlled by the entity as a result of past events and from which future economic benefits are expected to flow to the entity.’  

The reason why I even mention business here is because I’m still such a novice at it. I haven’t done much business in life. Buying and selling is just not my passion which must drive you to be successful.  But when your family grows as dough with the yeast you need to have some assets. After much prayer, I got myself involved in a small business. Naturally, I was worried at first. What was fascinating is that if you stay honest, apply what you know from the Bible through much prayer, you will have the best shot at it.  I knew about Christian business people who are doing well, but haven’t expected it to be that easy and straightforward. It is. The rest is just details and having a desire to learn will take you when you need to be.  The Bible does give the best advise to do any business successfully. Jesus, Logos, the Word was before any business ever was.itchy

The spiritual definition that I’ve worked out is this: Jesus secured His victory on the cross in the past to bring redemption of mankind in the future for their eternal benefit! Wow!!!

Let’s keep our family fire burning. It spreads warmth, love, hope for the completely victorious future, patience, fitfulness, perseverance, no matter what life and the enemy throws at us towards all. God has overcome the power of sin. So will we  by the power of the Holy Spirit. And if the Lord has you single, you life brings glory to Him just as much. At times it feels lonely, but it is ‘not unbearably itchy’ at least!  I’ve quoted above a line from Isaac Watts famous hymn ‘Joy to the world!’ He had to remain single all his life, (he felt in love with a poetess, she was naturally very fascinated by his writings, but when she met him, she decided that he wasn’t handsome enough to tempt her as Mr. Darcy puts it), but he had written sweet praise during his whole life to our Eternal, full of love and mercy, God! What a life that counted for Christ that was. Whichever your status in life is, with Christ – it matters even when time ceases!!!

Global nutritional madness.

A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?‘ Einstein

At first glance, such statement might sound as an expression of arrogance. In reality this is exactly right. What you are doing makes complete sense, but to others  ‘you are weird’ to say the least. And what the other do, you find hard to understand: ‘ Why would they do that?!!’

A teacher in my daughter’s school was going on and on about GMO food, how advantageous & superior it is. I read that it is harmful. If a child  fed for five year strictly GMO, he would surely die.

Dangers to our lives are all around these days. The danger number one is massive unbelief in the truth. I will never get tired of repeating how millions don’t have a problem believing a lie that ‘ nothing created everything out of nothing.’ Do you get now how crazy this sounds when you put it on paper?

But also our lives becoming extremely shorter. For example, mobile phones and obscene amount of  minutes you get with it. There is already has been done research that some children spent too much time talking on the phone & ended with brain tumors.  That’s why no one is too young to learn the truth today!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said something along those lines: ‘ The morality of society is judged by the way it treats the children.’

I’m a mum who stays home to take care of the family. It would be difficult for me to go places & participate in protests or demonstrations, but there are so many things that you can do from your home. I can control what my children watch, eat & do. Surely. One boy turned up on the school trip away with a suitcase full of sweets. The cost of it was about  25 pounds. He shared  with others, fortunate for him personality! But another girl brought lots of sweets & she ate them the first day all by herself. What most parents do not understand that sugar is responsible for a lot of diseases. The worst part it is addictive as a drug & widely available, there is no way your child can voluntarily resist it. That’s where you come in and teach them and restrict the amounts.  Once my son visited a friend. I knew from his mother that he had to pull a few teeth out. My son said that he could not believe what he saw: the packets of sweets were lying on the floor and the kids were so full, they didn’t even paid attention to them any more.

While my dentist and I agree on the harm of sweets, she mentioned to me recently: ‘I can’t imagine having children just yet.’  That’s because she doesn’t read the Bible where it says: ‘Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.’ 

Two of my children already revolutionized my life nutritionally. My daughter had eczema and because of that we had to rethink what we eat.  My oldest son lactose intolerant, but he has no problem drinking raw dairy. Because of him we will be so much healthier.  Pasteurized milk should be labeled  ‘a lactose water’ because that’s all it has to offer to us. Homogenized milk should be labeled : ‘harmful for your health’. Of course if our government was  honest with us. But this is probably too much to ask of them.  At the same time they expect me to spend my money for products like that?No, dep_10601680-Cute-little-girl-with-field-flowers[1]

thank you! And I’m indeed thankful that even though they tell farmers to put a warning on raw milk that it could be harmful, we still have freedom to buy it. Praise God of High Heavens for that !!!

My advise that really worked for me : ‘Do the  thinking  yourself, don’t let anyone do it for you!’

How about a coffee?

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Not long ago, my husband and I were getting so caught up in doing things, while the children & the ministry multiplied before us, that  all the  fun was gone from our lives. There is nothing new about being busy while serving God! You forget what God advised NOT to do. Just like king Solomon did. God specifically asked him not to multiply horses or women. He did exactly that over time.  When great & wise fail, we bound too.

Then we came to a brilliant solution.  We thought if we don’t have money or time to go fun places, we at least could got out for a coffee every week to talk.  And we did. It is amazing how a little effort could revolutionize relationships with your spouse. There is something special about  consistency.

Christians tend  to miss out on the obvious. A friend, with much regret, once said: ‘It never crossed my mind to pray for my children’s spouses.’  There was such spiritual maturity about her at the same time.

Even in a Christian marriage, it is vital to be in love with Jesus first. Isn’t that plainly obvious? Yet, emotions could be as ‘a slow released bomb’. Women are blessed to feel and experience like no one else. But this feelings: Danger- don’t enter-ground of a woman can be such a weak spot. I believe that is exactly where the enemy attacks on the evil day that the Bible mentions: ‘Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.’  We know it, yet the enemy strikes a bulls-eye  every time!

An encouraging thought

I encourage any mother to make the most of the opportunity while your children are under your roof. (And I mean mother, not parent: in some Christian circles women are not allowed to pray out loud while men are working. Yeah, right)  Years ago we hosted a Swiss student. He came on his bike all the way from Switzerland. He was obsessed with ecology. He would not fly on the plane. He would rather take 6 days to reach England with his  camera & tent on his bike. I was amazed.

What was interesting he came from a family with a Christian heritage. His grandparents & parents were believers. He wasn’t. I was puzzled. He wanted to practice English & I was determined to get to the bottom of his unbelief. He shared with me that he went to church on Sunday. Most of the week he and his dad talked about environment, pollution, nature and ect. He has not mention much about his mother. That itself speaks a little bit. If she had a massive spiritual input in his life, I think he would mention her. I can’t tell you how sad I felt the whole time while he stayed with us. Let’s not waste time producing children that are talented & knowledgeable in everything, but God’s truth. Invest in your kids while you can. That is one thing no one will ever regret.

Top Tip.

The most effective way that I found  to upkeep my spirituality, and particularly be right with my children, is to fast from time to time. The desire that I have for God’s word & prayer is incredible during fasting. The anger that rises in my heart is towards the right things that God hates, not irritation with my children. You can have a liquid fast (drink whatever you want) & even pregnant & breastfeeding mother can do it. (I was pregnant while fasting once & didn’t even know it) I mention all my children by names to the Lord. I pray that each one of them will walk with the Lord! This  brings such comfort & assurance that you can’t obtain any other way. I pray for toren apart families where children  get caught in the mess of brokenness. The Lord reminds about people you haven’t thought lately. Instead of judgement (because while you fast, you must first of all judge your walk  with the Lord)  compassion floods & reality of hell.  The urgency of time is so high because  your flesh is mortified & your spirit leads you. God left us with such powerful weapons as women. You could be a housewife who moves nations by fervent prayers & fasting, not even leaving the house. I love that perspective.

Here some of the benefits:

  • you naturally pray & read more (cooking & digesting food takes so much energy)
  • you are doing everything slower, so a speeding ticket is not an option
  • you don’t gossip, argue or talk unnecessarily
  • your stomach shrinks, so you don’t overeat later
  • your body feels relieved from toxins/fat/extra salt & ect.
  • you become spiritually disciplined once again
  • all  secular books,films & other rubbish doesn’t appeal to you as much
  • after the fast (you realize how hard work this is) physical exercises are much more appealing. 
  • particular fears are dealt with
  • you are able to identify more naturally about those are oppressed & unjustly treated.

I hope & pray that anyone who reads it would be persuaded to do it more often.

Why are you so bubbly?

I got a text from a friend this week. She was offering to babysit while my husband and I can go out on a date. Since I could not recall when we were on a date last, I thought it would be mad to miss an opportunity. So I quickly agreed.

As usual, the day went like a rocket,  looking after the children. After a prolonged winter, we were happy to be in the park, soaking up the sun. At 5 pm my friend was at the house, ready to take over. But I was not ready. By 6 pm during dinner’s noise or lack of it, everyone were eating chicken soup in great concentration, we slipped out. Towards freedom & silence!

Almost one foot out of the door, my husband asked our friend: ‘Any suggestions for places to eat?’

‘The pub in Buxhall is good.’

‘A meal under a tenner?’  We all laughed.

My husband knew the answer well, but it is ALWAYS good to hope for the impossible!

The evening was still sunny.  Still rather early to eat out. The village was just around the corner. So we went on a long drive in the country, listening to a comedian on a radio. No children. An amazing experience if you haven’t done it for a long time.

After driving for about an hours on country lanes, watching the sunset, watching out for rare sports cars zooming by, we spotted our pub.

‘A bit small,’ – my husband, a city man could not help noticing.

‘The smaller, the better quality,’ – I overruled as our family nutritionist pro.

Still, we sat there looking at each other, deciding who is going to make a choice.

‘It is going to be so much money.’ True.

Because  I didn’t fancy spending my only free evening in the car park, I started rapidly calculating in my head : ‘Let’s see. Last time we were out, it was my husband’s b-day which is July, it will be about 9 months since we were out on a date!’

Look, we have not been out on a date in 9 month. That is full term baby! (Since I’ve five children it is easier to count in babies sometimes to get the point effectively). That was the last straw for the argument to eat out. I don’t think my husband (definitely not me) is ready to even think about another baby!

A tranquil looking pub, going back to the 17 century stirred my imagination. Would be amazing to pip through history spyglass how life used to be here.  To enter, we had to bend out heads. Are humans taller now, must be! The first thing that greets you was the fire! There is nothing more desirable than cozy fire on a fresh April’s night. Especially this year! After getting our drink, we sat on the sofa right next to it, ready to go to sleep. Also, no one is about to ask: ‘Dad, look at this case on ebay. That’s what I need. Can you bid, please?’

The food was heavenly. We ordered ‘beef bourguignon with dumplings’. The meat simply was melting in our mouths. The pub was almost empty on a Friday evening. All villagers probably snag near their own fires. A few locals came in with their beautiful dogs, probably just to get out of the house for the dog’s sake.

I was surprised they let them in. ‘No, you don’t leave a dog like that outside. It would be gone in a moment.’ That was my husband’s verdict.

After we practically licked the plates, I was sure, no matter what the cost, I can’t leave until I’ve tried the ‘chocolate pot’. It was advertised as six pounds per any desert. The main dish was that impressive. At last, after 12 years in Britain, I’ve found a pub that can produce impressive food. It is not some ‘unidentifiable mash’ or ‘everything over fried’.

The ‘chocolate pot’ was so tiny, I had to look at it for 3 minutes or so.  I expected a massive pot with chocolate rolling off the edges. Why good things often come in small portions?!!!

Anyway, the experience was unforgettable. My husband had a few pints of local beer, good thing I could drive us back home. I checked on the children & got a text back: ‘They’ve been great so far. No need 2 hurry back.’ But we did anyway. What can you do in a village after 9 pm except drink more?

The minute we walked in, I began to share our dinner experience & answering all the questions that children had  at the same time. My daughter was baking and I glad she did. So we sampled her cakes and biscuits. My friend looked at me, laughing: ‘You are so bubbly. Have you been drinking as well?’ Guess what? Not a drop. Just one glass of pure orange juice. I think it was the joy of the Lord spilling over as the chocolate from that pot should. I was so happy to be out in public, treated to a perfect dinner, not worrying about the children (my friend is not only capable, she is a Christian, deeply spiritual woman you can entrust your children), having a good time. Somehow this reminded me of  Jesus’ return. Right now, as we carry on with our lives, going out to restaurants or not, some of us Christians are in prisons and under severe persecution. Only because of spiritual convictions. The dogs are treated better today! Can you imagine not being able to go out and see sun when you please? No eating the food that you like? Not touching your children as you used to? Their love for the Lord had cost them everything. That gives me an idea how these brothers and sisters are praying from the depth of their hearts: ‘Come, Lord Jesus, Come Quickly!’

This analogy of going on a date also reminded me that those who are imprisoned  & suffer all manner of difficulties, will enjoy heaven, God,  so much more. As I did, because I haven’t been out without the children to enjoy myself in nine months. But I only have a faint idea myself, when compare my life to theirs. At least so far… But if all good things come in small portions now, they will never end in God’s presence!

Where does the victory & strengths come from? Secret to success.

 


My two year old insists on walking everywhere. Even when I’m running late, I often let him. It is inconvenient, takes twice the time, sometimes dangerous near busy road, but I pray for patience and off we go.

But I also have to deal with some of the older children’s desires:

sometime they say that the church is boring’ or ‘I’m not going today.’ I never allow them to have their way on this one.

 

At the moment, our family is strictly divided into distinct traditional roles where husband goes to work and a wife looks after the children at home. I believe a child should never must choose between mum or dad in any family. Ever.

 

 

‘Let earth and heaven combine, angels and men agree,

To praise in songs divine the incarnate Deity,

Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made Man.’

                                                                                                            


This hymn contains both, the secret for successful family as well as success in general. First of all, there is got to be an order in high heavens: God rules and everyone else submits to Him. Makes sense if you believe in God of course. His creation must be subject to Him. If a family, an institution set up by God, with Adam & Eve the first pioneers, there must be also His order. The Scriptures tells us that Adam has been created first, and Eve after to be his boss, oops, ‘helpmate’. Don’t we, women married or not, rather often feel tempted to boss men around? While some men fight it off with all might and others laugh it off, which does it concern/affect the most? I would answer: God. To Him alone we will give an account for our life in this body. Even an earthly general demands his orders to be kept, why not the Chief General of heaven and earth? Adam, and so all men following after, take a role of the Head. Not because he is more important, but because how on earth it could be decided who is the head if both Adam and Eve want to be one? I’m saddened to hear from other women: ‘I’m an elder in our church. What are you doing in yours?’ In translation this means: ‘I’m rebellious to God’s order of things, how about you?’ This comes from a regular committed churchgoer. Personally, I have children to bring up, this is huge and plenty if I wish to give it my best. If I’m an elder and my husband is also, who is really going to invest in our children?  

 

Not only order of creation confirms who should be the head, not only plentiful Scripture passages do so, but our very frame shows that a woman is a weaker vessel and a man must deal with her delicately. Why a weak vessel want to be a leader of men?! That is a good question. Why there is such a confusion about this issue when the Bible is so clear on the issue? ‘For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

1 Timothy 2:13-15 ESV. In my mind, the answer is extremely simple to understand: it is impossible to obey and please God without daily help of the Holy Spirit for a believer, without investing in relationships regularly and praying together as a couple: there is no better glue in marriage than prayer. Convinced.

 

Deity became also a man. That is a thought to think about, eternity is not long enough! Only imagine Jesus turns around to God the Father and says: ‘What are you saying I have to do? Go down to earth (highly contaminated planet, something terribly went wrong after it has been created in utter perfection) and humiliate myself? You must be out of your mind! Don’t they deserve to be eliminated as highly contaminated hopeless dysfunctional species?!! Not me, not a chance in the whole of eternity.’

 

Well, our Savoir did not say it. Phew! We are grateful to Him for that. We love Him very much, but when it is our moment to be in a spotlight to demonstrate humility, we sing a solo: ‘I have enough, I put up with this nonsense long enough. I’m not here to suffer, but enjoy life, ‘you only have one life’. I’m out of this marriage and you watch me!’ While the unholy choir of fallen ‘friends’ echo: ‘Honey, you don’t have to take it. You have been through hell… Go, go, go.’  And the whole world applauding loudly while the Bible makes no influence here, incarnation makes no sense, and Christ is back in the manger, not in the very core of the heart. ‘Oh, this is too harsh. You don’t know my circumstances. You can’t understand it. Enough is enough.’ Really, that is exactly what Jesus had said on the cross: ‘Enough, you fools, I will never ever forgive you and you all should be cast off forever!’ Are we reading the same Bible? I know that we can’t understand all circumstances and not everything is black and white in the conflict, but the Bible was written for all circumstances and it is either true or not. I believe even as long as one person in marriage is willing to honour God and to do what is right according to the Scripture, things have more chance to work out. I hear stories when a wife prayed for her husband who had run away with a lover for one whole year. He came home repentant. You wish to hear such stories more often!

 

 Most men who were greatly used by God had a submissive, self-denied, humble, helpful, agreeable in spirit women behind them. Interesting fact is not all of those men were necessarily easy, loving, romantic or providers. I’ve read about such women, a first American missionary come to mind, Ann Judson, as a perfect example outside of the Bible or Susanna Wesley, another classic example.  I know some of such women personally.

 

Similar story is with the children. While parents have to be kind and patient with them, if one of them says he ‘doesn’t want to go to church or Bible is boring’, do we let him take our place to decide? Oh my! ‘Don’t touch the cooker what ever you do. And be careful how you use computer!’ I didn’t think so.        

Children actually appreciate when they are disciplined because it tells them you care for them and love them. 

                               

 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,

but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

                                       Proverbs 22:15 



The ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer…

 

Consider for a moment Kate Middleton’s parents. They were as ‘ants’ working away in a company called ‘Party Pieces’, over time this had opened up an opportunity of a lifetime. Can you imagine Royal family for your relatives? They did not know the future and where it might lead them. ‘Extraordinary’ as a maid from ‘Lark rise to Candleford’ say!

We, as Christian parents, will have a higher responsibility to present our children one glorious day before the Royal throne of God. What a privilege, but that involves a lot of prior work and many prayers. Guess what? The Lord does not ask us to do it alone, He is right there besides us. The Holy Spirit offers all these to be ours, daily, without a charge or a privileged position in life: love, joy, peace, patience, self-control… those are super agents who can do anything for you when you invite them along! Of course, we can do it ourselves; we could bring our children according to our own wisdom. A story of a lady that I know comes to mind. When she was a little girl, her mother who was a schoolteacher, made her practice piano three hours per day. All she did after school was playing piano. Later in life she was able to play any piece by Chopin, her particular favourite, but developed a serious mental illness. It had been confirmed now that it is extremely important to have contact with dirt. People who suffer with depression are advised to go and dig in the garden, touching the dirt with their bare hands. Once I visited her in the mental clinic, it was one of the most horrific experiences to endure. Seeing someone so confused about everything in life was just tragic. Well, her mother had her way, no wonder this lady has little contact with her now.        

 

Last week has been difficult. A few of my children were ill. While I had to lie down with two youngest, my 9 year old could not sleep due to bad cough. He came in to our bed and was waiting for me there. My husband was sound asleep next to him while he was loudly coughing. The minute I was free, I came and gave him honey, medicine, anything to stop the cough. But when my son wants to go to indoor skate park and it involves driving 3 hours there and back in a single evening, I can’t do it. Thank goodness he has both parents who have different, but vital for the welfare of the family abilities. While this is silly enough illustration, I think it gives a little insight in what I mean.

 

Both parents have constantly live on the boat of humility, no question about it. Otherwise entire family will suffer. And the children are watching and taking everything in. My two year old has extended vocabulary – he repeats everything he hears at home. How much more they copy adult’s behavior  It is your choice now what they will copy and how they will be presented at the royal court of heaven. There is no small thing when it comes to sacrifice in order to please our King and Lord Jesus. And God’s help is present and sufficient for all otherwise the Bible could not say:   

          

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you…

          So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this LIGHT MOMENTARY AFFLICTION is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

                                                             2 Corinthians 4:7-18

 Wow! When a friend was reading this to me the other day, I was thinking: ‘So true, this past year has not been easy for me. It has been hard, but the Lord remained faithful to His word and in my life.’ Pastor John Piper sums it all up: ‘When we suffer, but don’t deny Christ, the world sees the Saviour.’