Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
It's been one of those days...
As a parent of three small children, soon to be four...(joyful, slightly anxious sigh...)
...I find myself often contemplating the idea of "obedience."
When our first child was a toddler, we began trying to instill in her the idea of first time obedience. That is, giving her an instruction and having her obey that instruction the first time, rather than asking and ASKING and YELLING and getting into a power struggle.
People often looked at me oddly when I would ask our 19 month old, "Are you going to choose to obey mommy or disobey?" And she would promptly respond, "Obey."
I think the odd looks were due in part to the use of such a big word with such a small child, (and frankly, a word more often associated with canine behavior than children's), and also because she would actually obey after this little exchange took place.
So, since then, our parenting with regard to obedience, has evolved into this rather simple exchange...the conversation goes like this:
Me: "What did mommy ask you to do?"
Me: "What did you do instead?"
Child: "I __________________." or, "I disobeyed."
Me: "So what does mommy have to do?"
Child: "Give me a spanking (usually stated while covering the referenced anatomical area.)"
We follow with hugs and I almost always remember to tell them I love them and am not angry at them, just want them to learn obedience. At various times we discuss God's instruction to parents regarding training our children, etc. etc. so they know why we do what we do...
So, today, I realized, I have been getting away from the first time obedience training format with Wyatt (3). I find myself tired, busy, or just lazy at times, repeating myself over and over and OVER again until I AM really, really angry at him. And by then, the training is futile. Angry obedience training does not work I have found...I have to do the training before the power struggle and frustration (on both our parts) has set in.
I woke up with firm resolve that today would be a good training day. I believe that before breakfast, I probably had the above-referenced exchange and spanking scenario about 20 times.
I called my husband...left a voicemail..."The children and I are not getting along well today and I think we need a separation period..." No one came to relieve me of duty, so finally at 10:30 am, we went to Bible study (an hour late due to MANY unfortunate disobedience episodes.)
Episode ONE: DO NOT GO OUTSIDE
I told Wyatt, "It is wet and cold and we are not having outdoor playtime today." As I washed the third of the four thousand dishes in the sink, I thought I heard the door open. Yes, indeed, it was Wyatt, outside, followed by a very intrigued Caden..."Well, what's the harm?" I thought; I'll let it go.
Episode TWO: DO NOT OPEN THE SAND BOX
I told Wyatt, "The sand in the sandbox is wet and muddy and you guys are in your clothes to go to church, so please don't open the sandbox." I ran inside to get a sweater. When I came out, both boys were in the sandbox, covered in water and sandy muddy mess. I could not spank Wyatt at that point because I was shaking mad...it is really hard to get Caden dressed at this stage of pregnancy because he weighs 32 lbs and still acts like a raving lunatic when I'm changing his diaper and clothes. The 17 month old psyche in a solid two year old body is not fun...
I could go on with the following thirty seven or so episodes, but I won't, because you'll start to hate my kids and that wouldn't be good, because they are USUALLY NOT LIKE THIS!!!
We changed clothes, and even though we were going to be AN HOUR LATE for Bible study, I thought, "If I don't get my nose in the Word of God, I am going to lose it and CPS will surely be justified in removing my children and throwing me in the nuthouse."
So off we went.
And I was able to regroup. It was during the study that I realized how tired I was and how little consistency I had been giving my boys lately with regard to discipline. Their behavior, in large part, was due to my own 1) Moodiness; 2) Lack of Commitment; 3) Lack of healthy food preparation for their little brains to function in a stable manner; and 4) Lack of prayer for mothering endurance (which I used to do daily.)
I had become lax. And I could not hold them accountable for my lack of diligence.
After a nap (thank you Lord for that answered prayer!!!), I woke up thinking about obedience. I wondered what God had to say about it for us as well.
God calls us to a life of obedience to him just like he calls children to obey their parents. (Proverbs 16:20, Jeremiah 7:23.)
God does not want us to obey Him for the sake of obedience or to make our lives miserable. Just like the reason God gives for children obeying their parents is so that their lives may be richer, more blessed, and longer, so it is for us. If we obey God's commands for our life, trust in His wisdom, and seek His direction for our lives, we will be more blessed as well...
...and much less wet and sandy!
We are going to get back to the consistent first time obedience routine, for all our sakes! Thank you God for awakening this realization in me today.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Probably the most common objection people find with having a "large family" is finances. Our culture has instilled in us the notion that having a large family is not practical and certainly not ideal because it may mean you can't afford things.
So, here's the deal. This book does not argue that it is cheaper to have a large family. It does not claim that it is easy to send multiple children to college, etc.
What it does challenge is the notion of "richness." The perspective most of us have is that we are "rich" if we have things. We are "rich" if we can afford a nice car, nice house, nice furnishings, nice clothes, nice...stuff. And if having lots of children impedes our ability to have lots of stuff, then we will be "poor."
But here's the deal.
What is "rich?" And what is "poor?" In God's economy, one of the biggest blessings bestowed on couples is children, according to the Bible. Psalm 127:3-5 (among many verses) points to this. So, to deny God's blessing of children would make you "poorer" in His estimation. And that's a pretty big deal, don't you think?
Here's a story from the book that gives some perspective on "rich" and "poor."
"For nearly a year, our daughter lived in a one-room cabin with no running water, no bathroom, and no inside kitchen. She had five children and was pregnant with her sixth. They now have a bathroom, running water, another room added on--and a seventh baby! But they still don't have bedrooms or even beds for the children. There's no room for beds. Each night, the children take their blankets from the big pile in the corner and make their cozy spot on the floor in the all-purpose room. Is Evangeline a grumbling mess? No! Are the children deprived? No! They have a wonderful life! She is the most joyful mother in the nation. The children are happy and live adventure-filled lives. Some time ago, some young people gathered and began to discuss who where the richest people they knew. They all came to the conclusion that Evangeline and Howard were the richest! It had nothing to do with their material possessions. It had all to do with their joy of the Lord and their attitude."
Yes, you say, but isn't it irresponsible to bring children into the world when you can't necessarily pay for them to have "the best?" Well, first of all, what do you think of as "the best?" I know plenty of only children, or children with only one sibling, from very materially wealthy families, filled with divorce, alcohol, anger, and bitterness...and plenty who live in small houses filled with joy and laughter, lots of children, but not many "things." I can say that the latter are often happier, more well-rounded, and kinder children. This is not an absolute truth, of course, but interesting to think about.
The book also gives countless references to Biblical mandates to, "be fruitful and multiply." If this is so, and all the references I looked up seemed to indicate so, the author says:
"When God says, 'Be fruitful and multiply," faith obeys. Unbelief says...
"But how will I provide for these children?"
"But we only live in an apartment, we haven't built our own home yet."
"But we haven't got a big enough home."
"But if we have more than two children, we won't be able to afford their college education."
Faith simply obeys--and trusts God."
I guess the thought would be, if you obey God and believe He has called you to have many children, He will provide.
Another thought to consider--children might actually save you money!
"A bigger family teaches you how to be more frugal. If you don't have children or have only two, you probably will become more materialistic; you go out to dinner more, you buy "things" that you don't really need. We definitely don't need to have all the things that we think we do."
A great example of living frugally and being blessed is the Duggar family. They built their 7,000+ sq. ft. home without having to incur ANY mortgage debt. They simply lived a life where they only spent what they had. And God has blessed them richly...with children, and material provision for all 21 of them!
Of course, God does not simply tell us to have lots of kids and leave it at that. We have instruction throughout the Bible about being good stewards of His provision and being responsible people. The whole picture is this, in my opinion: If you obey God's command to be fruitful and multiply, but mooch off the system, parent irresponsibly, spend money inappropriately, fail to properly train your children and discipline them according to God's ways, and/or fail to lay your life down daily in search of the best for your children, then a large family is not going to be the blessing God intended.
If you are not willing to agree with your husband and submit to his leadership, or, if your husband isn't a believer, then the whole picture of God's blessings for multiple children is not fulfilled. If you refuse to tithe and give/serve as God asks, or if you are not loving to your fellow man (including your own family), you're still not going to a life as blessed as one who does, regardless of how many children you bring forth. Does that make sense?
You can't pick out one verse and say, "I'll have a big family because God says He'll take care of it," and ignore the remainder of the instruction manual that will make it possible for you to do it in a blessed way. If you're not willing to sacrifice and you don't view being rich in children as a blessing, if you would rather have a nice house and nice things than raise children, if you think that being a stay at home submitted wife is outdated or old-fashioned, having lots of kids may not work for you.
But, if you have been granted an extra measure of love for kids, you don't mind driving an older model large vehicle, you don't mind your house getting messy, you love the chatter and laughter of kids, you commit your plans and family to the Lord (prov. 16:3), and feel that the Spirit has led you to have a big family, you can do it! (Or rather God can through you.)
I'll leave you with this from the book:
"Jesus was born in a manger, in a barn, with the animals. Jesus was born to be King, but God did not provide a palace for His Son in which to be born. There was no beautifully draped cradle with lace and frills. Only straw! If it was good enough for God's son to be born in a barn, why do we think that we cannot afford children? We needn't own our own home nor have all the conveniences before we are ready to have a baby. We don't have to be in the "wealthy class." All we need is willing and welcome hearts. God will provide for the children He sends."
Perhaps the title of this post should have been, "What makes us rich?"
This book has really made me think. I have no conclusions, just lots of thoughts and prayers. I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about these thoughts. Now we can move on. :)
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Caden (17 months) has started carrying on these elaborate conversations with us lately made up of nothing (I mean absolutely nothing) resembling a recognizable word. It is really funny so I'm glad I captured a bit of it here. I think this is what I sound like to him most of the time. If you are reading this on Facebook and can't see the video, go to http://hanerhome.blogspot.com
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
My blogging friend Brooke has written everything I have to say tonight in her latest blog post, "Prayer for the End of Pregnancy." Read it here.
My only change is to substitute "Diet Pepsi" for "Diet Coke." I encourage regular reading of Brooke's blog for anyone who likes to laugh and read a great writer. She has a great attitude and way with words. Oh, and we also live parallel lives as she is a former attorney turned stay-at-home mom as well.
I am still accumulating my facts and information for the next part of the Be Fruitful and Multiply post. Incidentally, today, I don't care what I read in there, the way I feel indicates that this should most definitely be our last child. And if that contraction this morning was courtesy of "Braxton Hicks," I say boooooooooo Mr. Hicks. Booooooooooo.
Friday, April 9, 2010
One of the most persuasive parts of the book, to me, discussed the positive role of multiple births and nursing multiple babies on female physiology. (It does not discuss the increased medical risks of having multiple births, c-sections, etc., just the natural order of women's bodies and the way we are programmed.)
Romans 9:19-20 asks, "Who art thou that disputed against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?" In other words, who are we to argue with the way God made our bodies to function?
More statistics are constantly proving that the more a mother breastfeeds, the less likelihood she has of getting breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or even fibroids and endometriosis.
"Malcolm Pike of the Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, 'the epidemic rates of breast and other female cancers on a afact of modern life: The average American woman starts menstruating at age 12 and typically gives birth to one or two infants. Pike estimates she will ovulate a whopping 450 times during her lifetime. By contrast , a woman who lived even 200 years ago would have started menstruating at age 17 and would have delivered and breastfed eight babies. Thus our foremothers ovulated fewer than 150 times in their lives. Pike argues that pregnancy and lactation provide crucial resting period for the ovaries, the female sex glands that produce not only eggs, but also several powerful hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. Each month, a woman's body readies itself for pregnancy. The ovaries secrete estrogen and progesterone, which tell the breast cells to begin dividing in preparation for milk production. In years past, women went through this cycle less frequently because they were more often either pregnant of breastfeeding.'"
"'The Tania women of Hong Kong, who traditionally only nurse with their right breast, have more cancer in their left breast' (Mark Renneker, M.D., Understanding Cancer)."
"A recent CASH study involving about nine-thousand women revealed that the women with the least breast cancer were those who had the most children and thus a longer breastfeeding experience. CASH researcher Peter Layde, M.D., reports that women who breastfed a total of two years of more had nearly a third less breast cancer than women who did not breast feed."
For more on breastfeeding God's way, I was personally swayed by this article which gives eight solid reasons supporting the essential and nurturing reasons to breastfeed babies...and the more the better! :)
The other point made in the book is that the constant ups and downs of a monthly cycle can and will be averted by giving the ovaries and the hormones they produce when not pregnant or nursing, a much needed break. The average break I get from menses is about 16-17 months. Although pregnancy comes with its own tiredness and sometimes nausea, for me, this is a break from the monthly misery of PMS, cramps, etc. I adore this time of rest and I am a MUCH better mother when I am pregnant and/or nursing. I attribute this to many physiological factors with which God blessed mothers.
The segment below is also from Nancy Campbell's writings, which can be found here.
This hormone, which is released by the pituitary gland, is the hormone that stimulates the mother's letdown or milk-ejection reflex (the tingly sensation you feel when the milk lets down). This is a wonderful hormone that has a calming effect upon the mother. Every time the milk 'lets down' she experiences a feeling of relaxation and calm and sometimes sleepiness comes over her. God is good. When we do things His way, we get His benefits. He knows that mothers need this calming hormone and He has graciously provided it for us.
I am not a calm person by nature, but after nursing my babies for many years, the continual release of oxytocin had a major calming effect upon my whole personality. The more children I had, the more I noticed it. Many mothers notice an increase in tension after weaning their babies. My daughter, who is very similar to me, is now nursing her baby and we see this calming effect upon her. My other daughters look on and say, 'Mother, that 'relaxin' (as they have nicknamed the hormone) sure works, doesn't it?'
A dear young mother who I know very well had just given birth to her third baby when her husband had an accident with very serious head injuries. They didn't think he would live through the night, but with prayer he did. The doctors then said that if he lived he would be a vegetable. It was a traumatic time for this young wife. Well-wishing friends advised her to wean her baby because it would be too much for her to cope with, especially as she had to drive an hour and a half to the city each day to visit her husband. But her wise mother encouraged her to continue nursing. Every day she went to the hospital, taking her baby with her, and continued to nurse her through the long difficult months. It turned out to be her greatest blessing. The hormone oxytocin helped to keep her calm through all this time. By the way, I should tell you the end of the story. Because of the prayers of God's people across the world, this husband, who they said would be a vegetable, is alive today and doing well - and they have since had two more children.
A study cited by Dr. Niles Newton, Professor of Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University of Chicago says 'mothers who were exclusively breastfeeding their infants had higher levels of oxytocin during feedings than mothers who were breastfeeding and giving formula supplements.'
Randee Romano writes about a study, which 'indicates that the secretion of oxytocin is a conditioned response, meaning that a mother's body may produce oxytocin in response to familiar sights, sounds, or activities, not just from the direct stimulation of breastfeeding. In a small sample of nursing mothers, all showed an increase in oxytocin before the baby was put to breast. This will not surprise mothers who feel their milk let down when their babies cry. In fact, half of the women in the study experienced this. An increase in oxytocin levels was also measured in 30 percent of the mothers when their babies became restless and in 20 percent of the women as they were preparing to nurse.'
Oxytocin is known as the 'hormone of love'. Dr. Niles Newton says, 'Oxytocin also triggers nurturing behaviour.... Both men and women release oxytocin with orgasm. Married couples, after lovemaking, and nursing mothers, after breastfeeding, all reported lower levels of anxiety and depression than a group of mothers surveyed after a bottle-feeding. Even eating triggers oxytocin release, which is another reason to share family mealtimes.'"
Lastly, on this particular issue, I read what initially seemed awfully harsh to me, that women who delay pregnancy are more prone to have endometriosis or "career woman's disease." Studies reveal that women who bear their first child before age twenty-two are less likely to develop this disease and ovarian cancer as well. God knows this and says in Psalm 127:4, "As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth." Interesting.
Saved by Childbearing:
1 Timothy 2:14-15 says, 'Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgresson. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and holiness with sobriety."
childbearing=teknogonia in this instance
gonia=root word "gen"--"to beget"
Vine's says it "denotes bearing children, implying the duties of motherhood." This means more than clhildbirth, but rather a career in childbearing...
The "saving" referenced in this scripture is not the salvation from sin, but salvation from deception. Women will be saved from getting into deception and from being lured away from thsir divine destiny, if they continue to walk in the role of motherhood God planned for them...if they continue to view motherhood and childbearing as their career.
Now honestly, I know there are many questions begged by this post. But, let me reiterate, this is only one tiny section of this book that initially began the persuasion process in my heart. There is SO MUCH MORE! And many of those questions lurking in your head like, "What about finances? What about people having babies that are poor and uneducated? What about all those people who are drug addicts and abusive?" All those things are discussed or at least addressed.
And, I am quite sure, though Nancy Campbell might adore the praise and publicity, that she does not want me cutting and pasting her whole book here. So, tomorrow, I will pick up with her answers to the financial concerns this culture has with "big families." And then, I think I will leave it to you to read further yourself and pray about what you have read.
Although I feel peaceful with only four children in our home, there is something still tugging at my heart after reading this book...something very real, and very intense. I am so curious what other believers would think after reading it themselves.
If nothing else, this book has really made me think. And I like that. I hope this post is making you think too. Blessings!