Generation Cedar

This post, from Large Family Mothering, really spoke to my heart:

“We are a planning, plotting, goal-reaching people. We are taught to strategize and have all of our ducks in a row. With all of the danger and uncertainty in the world, people are looking for more ways to feel secure…

Life is not easy—no matter how one tries to make it seem so. I know some people who live what I call “prophylactic” lifestyles. They don’t just live—they are making sure that they have accounted for every contingency. They exist according to a plethora of checklists for everything from leaving the house to preventive medical tests and exams. Many are even religious for the same reasons; they want to be sure they go to heaven, but their god is not the God of the Bible; but the god of “necessity” or even “convenience”. He is a small, weak and deaf deity, unable or incapable of bringing them through tragedy and heartache. Their goal in life is not to glorify the true God and enjoy Him forever; their goal is to keep themselves “safe” from trouble.”

Boy it’s a balance, isn’t it?  Exercising the wisdom and principles of Scripture, but ALWAYS allowing the sovereignty of God and our faith in Him and His voice to “trump” our circumstances.

I’ve read several stories lately of people who stepped out in faith, doing what God was telling them to do though it defied logic, the counsel of friends, and the common sense of the world.  They chose obedience, not safety.

We’ve been called to walk that path a time or two, yet it’s very easy for me to sink back into, “But what if…”

Let’s recall the stories of the great men and women of faith.  Let’s remember Abraham, Sarah, David, Daniel, Esther, and Paul.  Men and women who embraced the foolishness of man in exchange for the wisdom of God.  Saints who loved God more than they loved being “safe”.

Few of us will encounter the perils that these and others have.  “Safe” for us involves things like money, the approval of friends and family, etc.  Few of us will be faced with obedience versus death or physical suffering.  Can we not follow Him for these few sacrifices?

May we walk in faith, with confidence, knowing that “He is faithful who has called us and also will do it”! What joy to be in the center of His will!

“…even if some days it looks as though the Philistines are winning, we are sure that those things we have entrusted to Him, He is able to keep for us and for His everlasting glory.”

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32 Responses

  1. Oh this one spoke to my heart…. we are getting ready to take a HUGE leap of faith as God is calling us overseas to work with Wycliffe. I’ll be posting our story in a few days. Walking in faith… yes.. this is where we are!

  2. In referring to balance, don’t you think it comes down to our motivation behind our actions? If I really think I can “control” things, I am wrong. Or if I am acting out of fear, then I am denying His Promises of Provision. If He tells me to prepare for an upcoming trial, then I need to obey, but to try to anticipate every possible contingency is strictly walking in “my wisdom.” When I think about the great men and women of faith in Scripture and those since, I see that Peace that passes understanding regardless of circumstances as their anchor. That’s where I want to be.

  3. Oh, wow! This spoke to my heart today. My husband and I are trying to discern God’s will for us with regard to homeschooling our children. My oldest is in kindergarten at a private Christian school, and yet she is still suffering from enormous amounts of peer pressure. I am a former schoolteacher, who became a stay-at-home mother upon the birth of this daughter. I had planned to homeschool, right up until our family experienced several crises during our planning year. We were thankful our parish had a private school with a good reputation, so we took advantage of the opportunity to enroll our daughter. However, almost immediately, it seemed to be the wrong decision. Now, we are worried about upsetting family, who might be disapproving of our withdrawing our daughter mid-year. It might seem foolish in their eyes, but we need to protect our daughter, who is only five years old. But ultimately, we want to do the Lord’s will. We are just struggling to discern that.
    Kelly, any advice or encouragement you might have regarding how to discern His will in confusing times would be greatly welcome. Thank you so much for your blog ministry!

    1. Randi

      I don’t have any advice, only empathy. We are struggling with the same issues. I currently homeschool and loved it until recently. Lately I can’t seem to get everthing done in a day. Laundry is piling up, bedrooms are a mess, dishes are undone, dinner has been coming out of a box, and the littles not yet doing “school” are often left to fend for themselves (you know, “go play in your room, mommy is busy doing school.”) I’m not sure how the rest of you do it. I only have four, but by the look of our house you’d think a tornado lives here.

      I know caring for the children are the most important things. And they are learning wheather we are sitting down specifically doing school or not. But there are more and more days where it is a struggle to even read a book to the kids. The urgent is pushing out the important. (spilt milk needs to be wiped up, the toy in the toilet needs to be fished out, the car stuck in the child’s hair needs to be carefully removed, just to name a few.) Putting my older two in school is starting to look very appealing.

      1. R.F.,

        I obviously don’t know anything about your circumstances–ages of children, demands in your life, etc., but perhaps just a closer look, trying to pin down some “problem areas” could help you regain a grip on your day.

        Just to throw a few things out there…are your children involved in a regular part of the chore routine, appropriate for their age level? Little ones can pick up toys and help empty the dish waher, bigger ones can sweep, etc. Team work is a big part of our routine and helps keep order for everyone.

        Also, many times I require my little ones to do a particular thing while I’m helping the older ones with school. I may get coloring books and crayons and have them sit at the table with us to “do their school”, even if that’s not exactly what they want to do at the moment.

        There was a season in my life where I didn’t guard phone calls as much and a call or two in the morning could knock our whole morning out of whack. Consider not answering until after lunch.

        “Snatching” cleaning moments helps me too. If the little ones are in the bath tub, I take that opportunity to do a quick-clean in our bathroom, wiping down counter tops, cleaning the toilet, etc.

        Feel free to share specific areas you’re struggling with, but maybe this will be a bit of encouragement to you.

        1. Because I’ve been there on occasion, I would suggest taking some time off from the school work and connect with your children’s hearts again. Do lots of cuddling and talking while getting the house back in order. Make a plan for the house work which we call “home training” because that’s what we are after: training our children to one day run their own home. Depending on your family size, divide the number of laundry loads between the number of days you are home. Depending on your house size, divide the number of rooms by the number of days you are home. For instance, we are home 4 days a week so we do two loads of laundry and 1-2 rooms a day. That way we still have time for school and play:) One thing that has stuck in my mind is “A homeschool that soars starts with the chores.” Praying that you would rejoice in this time with your precious children even through the balance struggle!! Listen to your heart and your Lord and keep your children close.

      2. R.F.

        One more thing….we have what I call “my Friday secret”, which may give you some creative ideas to help.

        Fridays are our designated cleaning days. On Fridays, floors get mopped, all bathrooms deep cleaned, dusting, pantry, foyer, etc. During the week we maintain the clutter but save Friday’s for the heavier stuff.

        Two things help motivate the children to participate with cheerfulness. One, I let them out of “seat work” on Friday. No English or Math. They do their normal reading after lunch, after chores, but getting a break from the written work makes them extra happy on Fridays 😉 By the way, we school year round which affords us plenty of days like this.

        Secondly, Friday is “movie night” and everybody is looking forward to that.

        All these elements combine to make Fridays mostly a cheerful day where everyone’s motivated to be diligent.

        Hope that helps!

        Planning meals ahead can be helpful, doing more soups/pasta dishes, using paper plates if necessary, and–I don’t know what your schedule is like, but staying home a lot is a tremendous time-saver for us.

        It can be a great help to sit down with your husband, too, and ask him to help problem solve–that’s his specialty 😉

        1. Oh how I would love to hear my husband problem solve, unfortunately his solution to the problem is “send them to public school if it is too hard for you.” He doesn’t much care where they go to school 🙁 So I find it hard to ever just vent the typical frustration because that is what he always says. He doesn’t understand that I am looking to do things the right way, not the easy way.

          I do have a cleaning schedule and it used to work, but it is the little distractions of spilt milk, dogs tearing up garbage in the driveway, clogged toilets, type of problems that never seem to end lately. I just go from one emergency to the next. I don’t know if it is because our youngest (15 months) is extra active and into everything or something else amiss.

          I’ve tried getting up even earlier to spend more time in prayer and bible reading, and it has helped with my attitude, I’m less crabby, but I do not have a better handle on the day. Maybe we just need to take a little time off of school and get our act together.

    2. Randi,
      I don’t have any advice on discovering God’s will but as I read your comment something occured to me. Please excuse me for being blunt, but are you not being influenced by “peer pressure” in this decision? If your worried about upsetting others over a decision that you and your husband are making in the best interest of your daughter, are you not falling victim to the same peer pressure that you are seeing your daughter struggle with?

      We have well meaning family members who hate the idea of homeschooling. Our oldest is just about to be 3, and they are hard at work to change our minds with logic!
      I hope my comment did not offend you and I hope the correct decision becomes clear to you and your husband.

      1. No offense taken, Katie Grace (what a lovely name you have!). Yes, we have addressed that very issue in our discussions. We do respect very much the advice that the wisdom of our elders and friends who are perhaps more mature in their Christian discipleship than we. However, much of our family unfortunately try to blend into society more than consider what being disciples of Christ might actually demand of them. (I do not mean to complain or judge, but this is a reality that I must acknowledge in order to seek wiser counsel in difficult times.) They can be quite perturbed with our ‘radical’ ways. However, our passion for pleasing our Lord has been kindled, and it has led us to ‘throw off the shackles’ and ask God to show us how to live heroic lives for Him. I thank God for blogs such as Kelly’s, because it has helped us to seek God’s will for our lives and learn how to discern it in ways that we were never prepared for in our childhood. And ultimately, it is my husband and myself who will have to answer for how we raised our children, and we will strive to do all He asks of us and hope to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

        1. Randi,
          Congrats on reaching a decision. I know the peace that comes from finally making a long awaited decision.

          We too are the “radicals” when it comes to my husband’s family. He is currently considering full time ministry (he’s a worship leader) and that has not gone over very well with the family. I know he’ll make the decision that is best for us as a family even if it’s not the safe choice (or the most finacially stable).

  4. Gideon is my favorite example of this. The youngest member of the lowest family from the weakest clan from the smallest tribe, sought out by God as he was hiding.

    Then he goes into battle against a numberless horde (actually, their _CAMELS_ were numberless)….with 300 people, chosen in a seemingly random fashion. Who have a torch/pot in one hand and a trumpet in the other. Not even holding a weapon at all.

    And they win.

    No common sense whatsoever. But then if it made common sense, it wouldn’t take any faith.

  5. Great article. Some people are so strict on safety, they shelter adult offspring from the world and a few have even attempted to plot their own future generations. I just read some accounts of people painfully denying their loved ones to follow God, leaving behind “wisdom” they’d been taught their whole lives.

  6. The Lord has been teaching me how much more safety there is being exactly in the center of His will. It’s amazing how much more exciting and adventurous it is to let Him teach us to live without fear. My oldest daughter is in Uganda for four months, and I know that there were a few people that were fearful for her, but I know that she is in the center of God’s will and that gives peace to our family 🙂

  7. Awesome. Following God sometimes looks very unsafe, unwise and impossible. But that is when the best is yet to come. Over the biggest “can’t be done”s there arises the greatest victories.
    One example from our family: My husband got a not small pay cut last summer. We felt that God was asking us to not cut back on our giving (above the tithe). So we didn’t. Every month God has given my husband extra money which actually exceeds the pay cut! So really, we got a pay raise! It really looked foolish to continue giving so much in the face of less money, but God used it to bring Him glory! He is so great.

  8. When I was homeschooling our 3 sons and had our daughter- in the eighties(our last two children were born in the nineties) we lived in Florida. The washer and dryer were out in the carport in a closet(laundry was on while we homeschooled). We had a 3 bedroom/1 bath house. We homeschooled 8:30-11:30(Abeka with Christian Liberty Press’s math-Modern Curriculum Press,etc.) One hour was reading,then writing, then arithmetic. Writing and math were at the table.My children use the Spectrum test prep workbooks,as well. My daughter played in the livingroom where the toys were. I used a crockpot, pasta meals and chicken(baked potato with a vegetable)meals. We didn’t have a dishwasher. I knew we were moving back to Long Island so we didn’t accumulate many things. The top shelves in the kitchen cabinets were empty. Now I watch two of our granddaughters(under 2) and our son(17) homeschools. I try to be a minimalist-as little furniture as possible(no hutch,,small dresser drawers in closets). Homeschooling in the afternoon was always unstructured. Now we have a 3 bedroom/2bath. The washer/dryer are in the bathroom. We have a dining room with a large table,livingroom,eat-in kitchen. I don’t like 2-level houses.I always napped with my children/grandchildren.

  9. I wonder if we worship safety so much as we live our lives in fear. I know that listening to the news really increases my fear and governs the way I raise my children and how I trust the Lord. We are afraid of disease so we vaccinate and vaccinate and over clean and over sanitize and over medicate and the result is hyper-allergic children with no immune system to speak of. We allow our children to over-indulge in video games and tv because we are afraid to let them run around outside because they might get hurt or kidnapped or something. This is something I’ve thought about a lot lately.

  10. I heard a pastor once say that Jesus told us to “fear not” more than anything else. He likened the world to a swimming pool where God the Father would not allow us to drown as we were learning to swim. That’s a great picture of trust that helps me remember that Jesus has already overcome the world, even though it doesn’t seem like it. One can really be bold for Christ when the fear of (peer pressure, money, health, etc.) is taken away by the knowledge that nothing can truly hurt us.

    Reciting Philippians 4:8 helps me a lot when the devil tries to get into my head with phantom fear.

  11. I just wanted to share that my husband and I have discussed (repeatedly and ad nauseum) the idea of homeschooling our children, instead of enrolling them in our parish school (private Christian education), and we have finally decided not only to homeschool, but also to withdraw our kindergartener now before the second semester begins. There were so many signs that it was the wrong idea to enroll her that we were just overwhelmed and confused. But now that we have come to a decision, we feel at peace about it. We are still nervous about how to break the news to family, especially to my father-in-law who is paying for half of the tuition (his money will, of course, be returned to him). But once we decided to begin homeschooling right away, we felt a good measure of joy and peace.
    Thanks for all the guidance, both through email and here in the comments, and also for the wealth of encouragement in all the articles here on the blog. It has so helped us to think clearly about a complex topic.

      1. Congratulations! There will be good days and there will be bad days but remember, God gave these precious children to your husband and you for the purpose of training them for His glory and HE will guide and strengthen you as you lean on Him. Praying for you!

  12. Has anyone heard of the Robinson curriculum for homeschooling? My dear friend and mentor uses this curriculum, and it talks about not spoon feeding your kids information. Her kids sit for five hours and read the books themselves and teach themselves. The mom teaches them how to read initially, but after that the kids do the work. You can google it,or here is the link, the videos explain everything http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/.
    it’s started by a dad who has eight kids and his wife died while they were homeschooling, so he had to come up with a way to still homeschool but without him having to sit at the table next to them during their school work. I’m just wondering if this method would help moms get all the housework done bc they are not strapped next to their child for schooling.

    1. I’ve heard good things about that curriculum and I’ve also heard of a easier and cheaper way of doing that type of curriculum. Let me know if you would like more information on that…

  13. back to the post…I think people can only listen to God and take that leap of faith when they have been living safely and according to the bible. For example, if God is calling you to be a missionary, you probably don’t have thousands of dollars in debt. It would be very hard to become a missionary if you have not listened to the bible about Debt and had your finances in order.

    so imho, in order to be able to follow God, we need to live our life “safely” but be willing to move when he says so.

    great post. We want another baby, but really a third kid in our situation will be really hard. Had we obeyed God and did right with our finances and our health then we could take that big leap of faith to go off of birth control. Now we can take that leap of faith and obey God with our reproduction, but it’s a lot scarier because we didn’t do things right to begin with.

  14. Off post 😉 Randi…we have 8 kiddos. 1/2 of them are under the age of 6. There were years we just did “school” on a 4 day week…and Friday’s were used for cleaning, library, visiting family/friends.

    Having a regular schedule of basic meals along with my crock-pot helps me alot. Every night before Daddy gets home, ALL the kids run around and at least straighten up the downstairs. The older kids are responsible for their rooms. 5 kids help in the kitchen daily. Right now, we are blessed that our 15 yr old daughter ASKED to take on the family laundry. She had read the book “Do Hard Things” by the Harris brothers and said to me: ” Mom, I’m not doing enough hard things! Can I take over the family laundry?”

    Before she did that, we had “family fold night”…..I’d try to make sure it was all washed once a week…and then we’d have all ages fold and put away. Having Daddy on-board was a huge lifesaver.

    Blessings to you….you are in my thoughts and prayers..and please know, you are not the only mom who has struggled or is currently dealing with these type of home situations 😉

    One last thought…I always remember, “The Lord is my helper.”….He will help me decide what to let go…and what is important to maintain.

  15. I’ve been talking with a friend of mine who recently had a baby after the husband had a reversal about this safety issue and allowing God to have control over the womb because there were complications. The doctors have told the mother that having another child COULD be life threatening. Without getting into too much detail, we would love your great biblical advice. Thank you for your time and this Titus 2 type ministry! We love your blog and share many of your words of wisdom with our homeschool coop.

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