Today I am desperate…

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; APART FROM ME, YOU CAN DO NOTHING." John 15:5

To Parent October 31, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — erinmelby @ 10:37 am

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

I can remember sitting in the parking lot at a local pizza place in our hometown and having a “discussion” with my husband about starting a family.  My sweet husband and I had only been married a year or so.  We were newlyweds and we were enjoying life together. But, I had baby fever!  He said to me, “You do realize that they aren’t little babies forever?  You know that once we conceive a child, they are our responsibility forever?”  I could have been easily offended and I’m sure I was, but he was right to say these things.  It was about then that our little discussion became more of an argument.  I was offended at the idea that I may not have realized these obvious facts when indeed, I needed some reminding.  Not that we weren’t well suited to start a family.  We were!  We just needed to be on the same page.  That has to be one of the most vital pieces of advice to offer a newlywed couple:  BE ON THE SAME PAGE!  That has continued to be true, day after day, week after week and year after year.

Our three children are 5,6 and 8 years old now.  We are able to look back on that parking lot conversation and smile now as we work as a team to parent these children.     Being united on how we parent is the most important thing we can do for our children.  When they know that we agree, they have shown us that they are most likely to believe it themselves.  If they know we are divided, then not only are confused, but they are left to their own devices because if mom and dad can’t agree, then maybe they are both wrong.  Being on the same page is as important now, if not even more than it was when we made our decision to start our family.

Here is an example;  Our middle child has shown a propensity toward all things right brained, creative and artsy.  We are very proud of her and we desire to see her take the talents that God has given her and to use them for His Glory.  It is our job, however to show her that path.  In the world of creative arts, she is most influenced by things that will draw her into anything but a God centered activity.  T.V. shows that showcase teenagers who do anything to get their name in lights, songs that degrade boys, slam friendships and glorify self righteous behavior are all vying for my 6 year old’s attention.

(The one discouraging side note worth mentioning here is the glaring observation of the gap between Preschool cartoons like Dora the Explorer and Tween identified content like iCarly and Victorious.)

This weekend, we had to make a decision and we chose to invite our daughter into that decision so that she could own it and believe it.  The three of us sat down and we explained what lyrics were and why they were important to a song.  And while we might enjoy the feel and the beat of a song, when the lyrics are hurtful or destructive it ruins the whole song and it speaks volumes about the person singing it.  When she read the lyrics without the funky beat and the loud music, she saw immediately what we were talking about.   This song that she had come to know by heart, mostly because she has an exceptional memory, she didn’t even realize was tearing down boys, building up self and had a very angry tone.  I later over heard her explaining to her friend that she wasn’t going to be singing that song anymore and the reasons why.

That night after the kids were in bed and my husband and I were recapping the day, we looked at each other and once again remembered that parking lot conversation about starting a family.  We often shake our heads and say, “Wow, what did we do?”  But, we take joy because we are on the same page and parenting as a team according to God’s Word will produce a harvest of righteousness.  That is our prayer.

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Church…with a capital “C” (part 1) October 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — erinmelby @ 9:48 am

For the past year, it has taken us about 35-40 minutes to get to church on Sunday morning.  Ordinarily, that same drive only takes about 25-30 minutes.  I guess you could call it Sunday morning’s version rush hour traffic.  You see, between our house and church, there are 14 churches.

Fourteen churches all with a unique vision, a unique story, gifted servants, but probably a fairly common mission.  Of those 14 churches, most of them (if not all) are some denomination of the Christian faith at large.  I haven’t taken the time to review all of their doctrine, but what little I do know of them as denominations, I know that they each believe in the inerrant Word of God, they each believe in God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit.  As well as many other common basic beliefs.  So, lately my heart is stirred and at unrest and I beg the question, “Why all the division?”

I know that I am not the first person to ask this question or ponder the unrest that this produces in my soul.  Certainly scholars, both religious and non religious, have spent life times studying this subject.  There are walls of books on it.  But, listen, I’m no Bible scholar and I’m not looking for a degree in religious studies, I’M JUST A JESUS GIRL WHO WANTS TO SERVE.

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.  (Acts 2:42-47)

When I spend time reading about and considering what the first church must have been like, I don’t think of a building with offices and gyms.  I don’t think of kitchens and massive stages with lighting and sound systems.  I think of people who were so consumed with the fire that Jesus had set ablaze inside them, that they couldn’t stand to not be in fellowship to discuss it.  I imagine that once the Spirit settled in their souls they almost literally had a glow that could not be ignored by passers by.  I believe that what they experienced and lived out, was something that we in Western society, have never witnessed.  We have made church be what we want it to be, even setting and changing rules, standards and doctrine so that it would fit into our worlds.

I do wonder what has happened to God’s Church.  But please don’t misunderstand me.  I understand that there is a place for things like offices, gyms, kitchens and stages.  I get that.  I have been drawn in myself to churches that have enough resources to build these things and listen…They are reaching people with the Gospel message.  Praise God!  I have served joyfully at churches that don’t have buildings, but have resources that are hauled on trailers week after week.   They too, are reaching out to lost souls and drawing them in to receive a little dose of Jesus.  And I have met with God on proverbial mountain tops with nothing but the sound of voices, maybe some instruments, but often silence, right smack in the middle of God’s creation.  No walls, no pews, no stage, no nothin’…No distraction!

Sure, I understand that with no venue, lost souls are less likely to show up!  I’m not suggesting that the walls of every church in America should come tumbling down.  Not literally, anyway.  Figuratively?  Now that’s something to consider…

 

 
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