Monday, October 30, 2017

Family Devotions 2017

Family Devotions hit me hard today. I'll just copy it below to make referencing easier:

Day 3 Devotion to God's Word
(this is the 3rd day in a row we've read Deut. 6:4-9)
Explain the truth of Deut. 6:6-9:
Since we love God by keeping His commands, we need to know what God has commanded. So if you love God, you will also love God's word, because it shows you how to love God. God's word must be in your heart, which means it should be at the center of your thoughts & desires (6:6). God's word is so important that it is the most important thing for your parents to teach you (6:7a). Teaching children to love God is like chiseling God's word on granite.
(This part silently crushed me because I had a total mom-tantrum/breakdown the day before that resulted in me sobbing in my hotel bathroom, then sitting in the outside hall questioning my very resolve to keep homeschooling, followed by apathetically going through the motions of continuing family devotions at the tearful, repentant pleading of my strong-willed firstborn whose grumbling, whining, & disrespect was the catalyst for said mom-tantrum.)  It is tiring work, and your parents must be consistent and patient. (yeah epically failing that last part!)But their hard work is worth it if (and this is the part that hit me like a TON OF BRICKS that I'll elaborate on why later) God's word becomes permanently imprinted on your heart, so that you love God and find life in Him. Then, like your parents, you will speak God's word all the time (Yeah... about that) and in every aspect of life (6:7b). This is because your words show what is in your heart (Matt. 12:34). If you love God, you will strive to make God's word the thing that controls your actions (hands), thoughts (foreheads), homes (doorposts), and community (gates) (6:8-9).
Ask
1. Why does Moses talk about God's word right after the command to love God? Because God's word helps our hearts love God and shows us how to love God.
2. Where should we keep God's word? In our hearts. That means we understand God's word, love God's word, and obey God's word.
3. What is your parents' most important job? To teach God's word to their children very diligently.
4. Since words show what is in your heart, what should your speech be like? We should be talking about God's word all the time, everywhere, in all sorts of activities.
Discuss
1. What are some ways your parents teach you God's word? How can you encourage them as they do this?
2. Do God's words come out of you? Make a list of ordinary activities where you can speak God's word.

The last 2 sections (Ask & Discuss) really got me thinking about how my own parents instilled the Word of God into my heart. I didn't start AWANAs until I was in 6th Grade -almost a teenager! But I already had a firm grip on the books of the Bible, many key memory verses, basic Christian principles were already deeply planted in my heart & mind... and yet the only memories I can muster of actually actively learning those things are a book/tape series of the Fruit of the Spirit; going to Sunday School every single Sunday of my life (& nothing really stuck out as particularly memorable), and family reading/devotions time...
In so many ways, "my" faith was secured long before I even had time to question it... and when I finally did, my foundation was so rock-solid & irrefutably backed by all my (short) life experience (17 years), I've only been strengthened in The Faith of Jesus Christ.

I think that if my parents did anything supremely well in my life: they were consistent about what was truly important. Both of them. Today, I think I FULLY grasped the gravity of intentionally & consistently "instructing my children in the way they should go." My oldest isn't getting any younger & there are waaaay to many influences I've had to counteract/explain and she hasn't even reached her double digits yet!

I'm horridly remorseful over how many missed opportunities & lost chances to 'start' this spiritual disciplining & training -rather than simply dropping them off at Sunday School once a week & having "emergency" conversations due to internet or peer exposure to "life" issues or worldviews. :-/

I'm gravely humbled by the enormity of the responsibility & task of planting God's word into their minds & hearts deeper than YouTube, DisneyChannel, the newest toy fads, & tv shows with subtle (or not so subtle) secular, worldly adult agendas & themes.
I am made more and more aware of just how "old school" & "conservative" & "traditional" I am at my core. Even moreso than my husband... a risk even he might not understand with giving me the task of homeschooling our kids. Asking the traditionally schooled woman who LOVED her private school experiences & thrived in the academically high-pressured culture of college to all of a sudden be "free" & "creative" with my instructing of her children... I've realized that I've needed to own this seaons of family life as a direct assignment of God or I'll resent my husband waaaaay more than he ever deserved.

All that to say that this experiment -or God-assignment, as I'm training my brain to see it- of teaching my grade school kids at home is going to break me, in probably all the RIGHT ways:
I am prideful. -Homeschool brings me to my knees with every little sour, rude, grumpy, disrespectful, apathetic, & (frankly put) bitchy attitude my kids seem to effortlessly breathe out.
I am impatient. -Homeschool slaps sense into me when I realize I can't just scream, pout, whine-cry, or run away from "my" little humans who so skillfully test & light my "short fuse."
I am insecure. -Homeschool keeps reminding me of how much I don't remember from my school-days & that it is OKAY. Also that, unless I want to raise brain-smart hermits or socially inept leeches on society that despise me, the charge falls squarely on MY shoulders to get them out of the house to try new things; meet & actually interact & even befriend perfect strangers; learn skills I don't know; and "put yourself out there" in general.
I am judgmental. -Homeschool takes the wind out any sort of "haughty" attitude or truly arrogant mindset. I have to learn how to counteract it with my other tendency...
I overthink & constantly second-guess everything. -Homeschooling forces me to "keep moving forward" and that any failure HAS TO result in forward motion & alternative options or I'll just sink into self-pity & the dreadful sin of apathy.

I think I've written enough for me to chew on for now.... I'm sure there will be more sooner than later.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Expectation

I am 39 weeks pregnant with our first little BOY! Oh how time rolls by.....
It feels like a decade ago that I was begging & pleading with God to open our family to the possibility of adding another member to the family.  Now we "own" our 1st home, have TWO german shepherds, & my sister has come to live with us indefinitely (to help with the other kiddos & be a companion for me), while we wait for the final word on my hubby's international job offer!
I suppose it could be said that life is VERY FULL right now... and yet, I am struggling with the anticipation of not being able to plan anything right now. Can't plan on moving because we don't know if he has the job yet. Can't plan much one-on-one time with the hubby because he's trying to get his guard requirements fulfilled before he will most likely be moving. Can't plan much with the girls because we don't know when (if?) we will be moving & because the new addition is due literally any day now.

So I wait. In discomfort but without consistency. In awareness but exhaustion (I awoke sometime around 3 or 4am & fruitlessly tried to fall back asleep & now it's 7). My brain is so scattered, I can't focus on a project long enough to follow through on finishing it. I'm hungry but nauseous. Thirsty but am weary of constantly visiting the bathroom & washing my hands every 30-45mins.

Therefore, I am trying something "new" - meditating on God. It's probably the biggest thing that has suffered since we began the home-buying process. Not that I haven't been praying. Not that I've forsaken my church family or doing my best to "train up my children in the way they should go." But in my personal relationship & love of the One that I use to call my First Love. I know that He's been with me the whole time... patiently waiting for me like I am waiting for my child to present himself to this world. He's felt as close & as far as I have with my unborn son -being closely held & nourished, loved & thought of, but not known or fully experienced for who he is yet. But I have already been born again into His family! Is it so easy to retreat back into the fetal stage of little to no active growing communication... and just take for granted His love, provision, & tender holding...

Perhaps that is just it: pregnant silence & growth is what I've needed these last few months (basically since the beginning of this year). I don't begrudge my son's lack of active communication with me -he's not ready yet, but I love him all the same.  I am eagerly expecting his new level of interaction with me -literally itching for it- and perhaps I'm not as prepared as I think I should be, but all he'll truly need is my care & love & prayers. Just as I know Christ has & will continue to care for my needs, pray on my behalf, & lavishly love me, I will continue to grow & open up to Him. My son won't come out feeling guilty for not speaking to me for 9 months. I won't punish him for jabbing at me or "ignoring" me for 9 months either. At his birth, we will simply love & want each other. He will still need me like I will need Jesus.

My biggest question, even before we got pregnant again, has been: am I equipped to raise a son? Somehow I already know & understand that the process of parenting a son is going to be very different & even more life-changing for me than it ever has been or will be with girls. The next question being: is my husband ready & equipped to raise a son? For the first time in a very long time, I feel like the two of us are very possibly on the same level or "page" spiritually... still working on communicating it to each other & growing together, but now we're not so awkwardly different or coming from such differing theological or psychological perspectives as when we first met.

I've been humbled quite a bit & he's been intentionally challenged -and both of us have been stretched in enough similar circumstances though in different ways.  But now I feel like with the coming of our son, there needs to be even more intentionality & vulnerability between us to take on this new challenge. It's not that we love our girls any less, but differently. I understand how girls process information & grow physically & mentally. All I understand about boys is that they are different & that I've simply had to figure out how to be a girl around them... not how to help him develop or think, much less understand what is important for him to know & understand to be a healthy man of God. Even James is still figuring that out... I know how I want & expect myself & my daughters to be treated by boy/men. But I don't know or fully understand the "how's" or "why's" of instilling certain values/mindsets/perspectives/"understandings" to someone whose mind-wiring & genetic-building is completely different than mine. I never expected to "change" my husband, I just expected his father to have taught him how to treat his mother & sisters -and therefore, his wife & daughters. I don't want to emasculate or "baby" him past what is healthy but I don't want to cause him to fear women or even treat them like goddesses. I want him to respect them & protect them. To treat them like precious peers that are just as smart & capable as him. I want him to be observant & sensitive but not a pushover & whiny. I want him to be strong & confident but not arrogant or selfish. Capable & independent but not rude or self-absorbed.

Am I placing too much expectation on my son already? I suppose I didn't have to think all these things through for my girls because I just knew what traits I lacked, had strength in, & admired/aspired to in other women & have been parenting in such ways that I feel emphasize those expectations/values/perspectives/"understandings."

Other humans are finally stirring in the house, time to go. Until next time, and hopefully not so long from now! Aloha!

Monday, July 29, 2013

My 30's Project

I already mentioned it on my Tumblr account & created a board on Pinterest, but figured I'd put the thoughts & "background" behind my choices. Not to mention I still need to find pictures & or create pictures of my goals/hopes/dreams for the upcoming decade of my life.
Here are a few of the ideas I've mustered up already (in no particular order, i just wanted to know how many I'd come up with so far) :
1.Write & have a children's book illustrated & published
2.Record my own music album
3.Study to become a physical therapist
4.Visit &, if possible, do missions work in Venezuela with my Dad
5.Learn to paint enough to paint (& consequently visit) the Eiffel Tower
6.Travel Venice, Italy, by gondola, both by day & by night
7.Live outside of the USA for more than a year
8.Be in Japan for a Cherry Blossom Festival
9.See Victoria Falls
10.Have lunch at The Eagle & Child
11.Memorize the book of Philippians (and be able to recite it for my 40th birthday)
12.Mentor someone
13.Able to name 3 of my children's closest friends
14.Go to the Caribbean with James
15.Take each of my children on their own "Mom & me" trip to the location of their choice for their 13th birthday
16.Make a Dasher Family Favorite Recipe book (with pictures)
17.Take my Mom & sister on a Mother-Daughter vacation
18.See Angel Falls with my Dad
19.Do a family missions trip with the Knapp & James Dasher family
20.Make a family heritage book of Knapps & Dashers
21.Make a family heritage books of Cabebes & Michaels
22.Keep a daily journal of praises & prayer request for 1 year
23.Make & start a Hope Chest for each of my children
24.Be more in love with James than ever before
25.Record a music album with James

I know I'm only 5 away from 30 & I'll be the first to admit that I might have sat here longer than I expected & thought some (okay a lot) of these out but I honestly can't think of any more & still have work to do before turning in for the night. (It's getting very close to my bedtime.)

Closure to last post

I promised to revisit my last post. Just reading it made me realize how depressing I can get sometimes. I think I put such postings silently wishing someone would happen upon it & tell me something nice about myself but looking back now, I think I need to keep such entries to my personal journal & in my prayers with the Lord. Though the message I did learn about True Love was a good one, I think.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thoughts on love

I've have the head knowledge that this culture has love all twisted & wrong for quite some time. I've also had the head knowledge of what the Bible says about love. Some how, for longer than I think I've realized, in my effort to not conform to the world's definition & understanding of love, I've closed out exploring & opening myself to truly understand & know biblical, godly love = True Love.

Perhaps its from my few years of being a wife & mother... but it's almost like my heart & soul knew what it consisted of & looked like but my head tends to be the "boss" when it comes to my day-in-day-out thoughts. This morning, for probably Spirit reasons, the realities in my heart touched upon my analytical mind.

Love is the day-in-day-out, laying-down, giving up, and getting-out-of-my-own-way for others.  

I may be married to that person, I may be their mother, I may be their daughter by blood or marriage, I may be their neighbor across the street or across an ocean. I may not know them or I may see them every week. I may know their "story", go to church with them, or work with them....

If that is what true love is (or at least part of it), then I am quite guilty of simply loving those who love me back or those with whom I feel can or would return the sacrifice that it is....  but love is not just a feeling or a favor. It is so simple, yet deep that it seems as thought it is very complicated.

I have somehow numbed myself to seeing people the way God sees them... I made Jesus an abstract theology that I cling too... rather than get into the complicated, messiness that most of my relationship seem to turn out as. I've burned so many friendships by simply giving up or not knowing how to continue them. I've isolated & confused others who wanted to be my friends.  I also tend to make the people I really truly LIKE the "dumping grounds" for my thoughts, feelings, frustrations, mistakes, & questions... almost like I'm seeing if they actually want to stick around if they knew what I thought & how I behave.
Realizing that all my faith is based on a real, living person? It scares me. I so badly don't want to "screw it up" or "let Him down" or ...or... the worst thing I've done in so many of my other relationships: disappoint. :-( I guess I've always secretly believed that my parents are disappointed in my life choices after college -namely my marriage. I believe that my in-laws are disappointed that I turned out to be an ungrateful, spiteful, messy, overly emotional, & naive girl (instead of the asset that their son married "up"to in the beginning). I believe that my childhood friends & church family & extended family are completely disappointed in me not returning to Hawaii or obeying my parents wishes or fulfilling my family's expectations in ministry & back to my continually sacrificing parents. I believe my siblings -especially my brothers- are disappointed in me. I've let down so many of my college friends that none of them have tried to continue what friendships I thought we had... I can actually remember almost every time that I have let down or disappointed someone & the feeling of complete & total feeling of being a failure. As much as I want to impress people & be seen as a success or as a loving, caring, hard-worker... my biggest goal in life seems to be to NOT disappoint people -especially the ones I truly love & want to be loved by. :-(
I absolutely HATE the drop in my stomach, the sadness in their eyes, the feeling of throwing up, the pinched lips or sighs on their mouths.... and ultimately the thoughts & feelings I assume must be going on inside their hearts & minds. I can almost hear them saying "I can't believe she just did that!", "Guess I can't rely on her anymore", "If she can't be trusted to do this, then I can't trust her in __ either", "What a let down she is!", "What good is she if she can't follow through in this?" ...seriously. I have these thoughts everywhere I go, with every single person I come in contact with... perhaps I am an introvert simply because I don't want to see how many people I could possibly let down & disappoint. perhaps I even hate social media because it reminds me of the sheer number of "friends" I've let down over the years & disappointed more than once.

I feel so trapped by these thoughts. I feel dead-ended & most of it is my own doings... which deepens the offense of disappointment: in myself. And the one person everyone keeps telling me that can get me out of it is still another person. another relationship with the even larger potential for being a disappointment & "let down"... wow, this post just took a different turn than I was expecting... and I have to go.  I promise to revisit it later.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

faith·ful


adjective:
1. strict or thorough in the performance of duty: a faithful worker.
2. true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.
3. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends.
4. reliable, trusted, or believed.
5. adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original; accurate: a faithful account; a faithful copy.

In beginning this search, I start with the dictionary definition. My assumption & initial understanding of "faithful" largely being understood as the first 4 definitions -all actions or outcomes of behavior, choices, & circumstances. It was the last one that really caught me off guard and while the definition calls it an adjective, the essence for me as a Christ-follower makes it more of a noun. I want to live by what is true -the ultimate standard; The Original child of God. I want my life to be an "accurate account" and faithful copy of Jesus Christ. Just typing that seems too lofty, to impossible, almost sacrilegious. It sends chills down my spine & makes all my hair stand on end. Me sinful, pathetic, wimpy me?! Be like the perfect, strong, powerful Jesus Christ of the Bible?!

Dictionary.com actually listed this at the very bottom of the page:
Biblical Definition (via Dictionary.com)
as a designation of Christians, means full of faith, trustful, and not simply trustworthy (Acts 10:45; 16:1; 2 Cor. 6:15; Col. 1:2; 1 Tim. 4:3, 12; 5:16; 6:2; Titus 1:6; Eph. 1:1; 1 Cor. 4:17, etc.). It is used also of God's word or covenant as true and to be trusted (Ps. 119:86, 138; Isa. 25:1; 1 Tim. 1:15; Rev. 21:5; 22:6, etc.).
Again, God's Word (Jesus Christ, the Living Word) is the essence of faithfulness & we are called to be likewise. That's really heavy.

I need to think through that a bit but I do want to put up 2 verses that keep coming back to me:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9 

He that is faithful with little things is faithful with big things also. He that is not honest with little things is not honest with big things. Luke 16:10

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Failing

I hate the word failure. It makes me cringe. I despise the way it makes me feel & I have enormous wars within myself about what it "makes me" when do [fail] in some way. Society even tries to make light of it when people make a funny mistake or do something simply stupid by saying "major fail" or the like.
I still hate the word.
A few years ago, I started to read the book Failing Forward by John Maxwell and yes: I failed to finish reading it. :-( But what I do remember about it was that people can choose to take failures & label themselves by them ("I am a failure.") OR see them as isolated moments & incidences from which to learn from & grow in.
I find myself very stubbornly still in the first camp, unfortunately. I tell myself that I can do better & will to better in the future.... then I screw up again somehow & my brain does some math: 1 failure + 1 failure + 1 failure = complete failure.
At that point, all I want to do is cry & be held & told that I'm not a failure. :-(
For some reason, this time in my life it seems so easy to get stuck into a hole of catch-up, failing, & burn-out. I really thought I was an organized person. I really thought that I was a good student. But now I'm so scared of not doing 'my best' like I was in cc & Bible college. I've never known how or ever let myself only give "just enough" for a passing grade. It's seriously messing with my head when a subject that would normally excite, engage, & enthrall my attention is stressing me out so much that I want to pull my hair out & quit something for the first time in my life!
The most ridiculous part of it all is that according to my known scores: I am passing.
It was drilled so deep into my brain & heart that "just passing" was completely unacceptable & just as bad as "failing." I don't know how to get this unrealistic (at this specific point in my life) expectation out of my thinking.
Perhaps it's something that I've never thought about praying & releasing to God because it was suppose to be "my work", "my effort", "my achievement." I guess I look back at all my educational pursuits & take all the credit (with the exceptions of when my dad insisted on editing my papers or doing my research). :-/ That's stupid. For all that "knowledge" I really don't use much of it. Whatever I "learned" was simply for finding favor with people that I felt, saw, or was told was important -family, teachers, friends... and somewhere in there I was "honoring God." I will say that I know my quiet times during Bible college are sweet, tender, & emotional memories ...that I find hard to tap into now. they are almost bittersweet. but i didn't learn how to relate with people. i armed myself with knowledge & scripture so much that i became unapproachable, self-righteous, hyper-judgmental, & full of self-pity (or loathing). i feel like i pleased my parents by getting 'their' degrees but failed them as a daughter by forcing their-hands in my desire to get married. i'm afraid to talk to them about certain things because i'm afraid they won't accept me or will fear for my sanity or salvation. i'm afraid to talk to my in-laws because i'm realizing how ungrateful & bitter i probably came across to them in my years of living under their roof on their charity. i am so afraid of opening up to someone new because they will see how much i don't pray or read the Bible any more or trust God & witness to others. i'm afraid of getting close to someone & then letting them down... just like with my siblings. one of them is battling depression now. :-( what do i have to offer anyone? I use to sing & dance. I use to create & plan. I use to explore & serve. I use to praise, worship, & have joy.
what happened?