My Self Control

I really really really can’t wait for school to start…even though i have so much to do.  I find it ironic that our next main topic of study is Self Control.  Why?  Because I am so far behind in everything that I need to get done!  Between cheer and football season, the crochet projects I’ve promised to people, the sewing projects I’ve promised to people, getting ready for the Back to School Back Pack Bash at my church, catching up on my grading, and then the regular Mommy chores…I am overwhelmed and out of discipline.

Do you ever get that way?  I am over-committed, on a regular basis.  And I need to get back in control because Children in Action is starting in September and I’m not ready for that either!!!!!

So how am I going to emphasize self control when I don’t have it????  First things first…I need to get back into a school routine.  And I have the bones of that done….I just need to really emphasize being disciplined.  I kept a fairly tight schedule yesterday and Barbie noticed.  But I got more done yesterday then I did last week!  I’m working on waking up early as well.  So we will be running a tight ship during cheer and football season so that I can get everything done.

Here is my schedule for school…Kind of;)

I’ll be waking up at 5:30 am: praying, stumbling to the laundry room to start the first load of laundry, grabbing a cup of coffee (or green tea) and then going to do my morning devotion.  Once finished, I’ll start my second load of laundry for the day, go wake up the kids, and then work out. (Yes, I’m trying it again!  I’ve stuck with it for 3 weeks this time!!!)

Once the girls are up and going, I leave them in charge for the half hour it takes me to shower.  They will make sure the boys are ready for the day and they are ready for the day.

Then I’ll cook breakfast.  We’ll have breakfast while I’m reading a book to them.  Our first biography this year will be about Adoniram Judson (he was a missionary in Burma).

We’ll finish eating and doing our kitchen chores then head to the living room for our Family Wisdom Search.  Quick note on our Kitchen chores.  Every one has their own chores and I set the timer for 15 minutes.  While they are picking up the kitchen, I’m folding and then starting a new load of laundry.  They all come and get their pile of clothes when I call them. Our Wisdom Search we only do for about 15 minutes as well.

Then on to our Wisdom Booklet, Music, and their Project Work.  While they are working their projects, I’ll be cooking our main meal of the day.  We all eat together, do Kitchen chores, and then I’ll have about 15 minutes on the computer to check facebook while they are being silly and goofing. 😉  Or arguing with each other, depending on the day. 😉

Next is English.  Barbie is completely independent in this except for grading.  BAM! and Kissy are on the same level, and the boys are all on the same level.  So I will take turns teaching while the groups are doing independent work.  Because of me teaching – this will be 1/2 hour.  This will also give them time to study for spelling, vocabulary, and dictation quizzes.  How they do on their quizzes will determine if they move up a minor level or not. 😉

And then Math for the kids – this is pretty much independent and gives me time to grade the work they have done so far…logging it for the children that have report cards. (If we study math that week as a school, the kids will have a break during this time)

After Math, the boys have a break.  They can choose to work on what they haven’t finished school wise or their chores.  But let’s be honest…they’ll play!!!!  The girls will be taking turns doing typing lessons.  On days they don’t have typing, they have the same choices as the boys (except for Barbie…she has SAT prep class).  What will I be doing?  Working on my “to do” list of the day.

Now it’s Super Clean Time.  We all work together cleaning one room of the house.  We get as much done as we can in 1/2 hour.  The kids hate this time…but they like it better than doing it individually.  We power through!!!!!

Then the girls will do their Independent Science while the boys take turns playing on the computer.  (If we have science as a school that week, the girls will not have science).  I will be working more on my “to do” list!  After about 1/2 hour everyone has free time!  Me too!!!!  This is when I get to crochet, sew, or read!    Then I’ll get our snack ready, and pre prepare anything we need for dinner.  We’ll have a snack…clean up real quick, and get ready for football!

When we all get home, we take turns showering, and eating.  We are doing a family wisdom search at that time as well!  I will tuck all the kids in…and then read myself to sleep!

After looking at all of that, do you see why I need self control??????

If I don’t, I will easily throw everything that needs to be done and play on facebook or computer games all day.  It’s way too easy to do!!!!!

Reading all of that made me tired!!!!  And it’s time for me to start cooking!  Gotta get on the schedule!  Have a blessed day all!!!!

 

Three Little Confusing Words

As I was pondering how to write this…the phrase “Three Little Words” came to mind.  Now what do you think of when you think “three little words”?  I usually think of the words “I love you”.  And I think that those three little words can clear up the confusion of the three little words I’m going to talk about.  Three little (or big) words that cause so much confusion in the World, and in the Christian World.

So, put aside any notions you have right now.  Clear your mind.  Have you cleared it?  Not thinking of anything?  Good.

I’m going to say three words, and you are going to examine your gut reactions when I say them.  Ready?????

JUDGMENTjudgment

CONDEMNATION

DISCERNMENTdiscernment

What was your gut reaction?  Be honest.  With yourself if not with me.  If you are like some, your first reaction could be anger, or a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.  If you are like most Christians, a bible verse immediately popped into your head.  One quoted by millions of people who have never read that verse at all, or have never read it with 20/20 vision. (Just for your edification, that means you read 20 verses before and 20 verses after to try to get the context).  So, let’s say that verse all together…..in unison…..“Judge not, lest ye be judged”.  There.  Feel better????  Well, I don’t.

Now let’s look at these three confusing  little words that have HUGE impacts on our life and try to figure out what they really mean. (Before you do that, please go get your cup of coffee, tea, water, etc.  this is going to be a long one!)  Because quite honestly, it angers me that people have no clue what the difference is.  And I am sick and tired (I hear Bill Cosby whenever I say that, sorry) of being called judgmental for having an opinion that differs than most.  That’s right, I’m tired of being judged and found lacking.

Let’s begin our journey by looking at the Webster’s Dictionary definition of these three little confusing words.  In alphabetical order because my OCD is showing.

con·dem·na·tion

noun \ˌkän-ˌdem-ˈnā-shən, -dəm-\

: a statement or expression of very strong and definite criticism or disapproval

Full Definition of CONDEMNATION
1:  censureblame
2:  the act of judicially condemning
3:  the state of being condemned
4:  a reason for condemning

dis·cern·ment

noun \di-ˈsərn-mənt, –ˈzərn-\

: the ability to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently

Full Definition of DISCERNMENT
1:  the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure :  skill in discerning
2:  an act of perceiving or discerning something

judg·ment

noun \ˈjəj-mənt\

: an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought

: the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought : the act of judging something or someone

: the ability to make good decisions about what should be done

Full Definition of JUDGMENT
1a :  a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion
 b :  an opinion so pronounced
2a :  a formal decision given by a court
 (1) :  an obligation (as a debt) created by the decree of a court (2) :  a certificate evidencing such a decree
3a capitalized :  the final judging of humankind by God
 b :  a divine sentence or decision; specifically :  a calamity held to be sent by God
4a :  the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing
 b :  an opinion or estimate so formed
5a :  the capacity for judging :  discernment
 b :  the exercise of this capacity
6:  a proposition stating something believed or asserted
Synonyms: doomfindingholdingsentence (or judgement), ruling

So, did you read those definitions????  Go back.  Look at them again.  Got them in your head?  So, now let’s look at the differences.

Discernment is (for our purposes) the ability to see and understand people clearly.  Someone with Discernment will evaluate others behavior and look at it in contrast to theirs, always keeping in mind that we are all sinners, and NO ONE is righteous…no NOT ONE.  Someone with Discernment is going to realize that they deserve the same punishment of eternal death in hell as everyone else.  As a Christian, we are supposed to be discerning.  We are called to hold other CHRISTIANS accountable for their actions, while realizing that we should be held accountable as well.

 Romans 15:14  And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

We can clearly see with this (very short and not complete) list of verses that we are to call each other out when we sin.  So that we are not hardened by our sin.  And if a brother in Christ continues to sin, as Christ followers we are to no longer keep company with that person.  In other words, no longer be close, intimate friends.

Most people confuse the words judgment and discernment, the words I mean.  I was recently made aware of a church (somewhere in America) that had revoked a young man’s membership.  The young man (college age) had become a member of the church in the past year or so.  His parents followed and also became members.  Several months ago the church leadership were informed (by the young man) that he was a homosexual.  They reacted with love, offering to counsel him in weekly meetings, exhorting him, helping him.  They came alongside him in love to help him put away his sin (not an easy thing, so please don’t think I’m saying that).  After a couple of months, the young man posted on his Facebook page that he was proud to engage in several homosexual relationships.  After the church leadership spoke to him and realized that he was not repentant and truly wanted to continue in the sin (he wanted to have his cake and eat it too), they revoked his membership in the church. The young man and his mother still attend the church, while the father has chosen to leave completely. This caused a small uproar on a Facebook group I’m in.  It even caused a young lady to leave the group.  She couldn’t believe that people were ok with this.  All she could keep saying was “judge not”.  That is a perfect example of misunderstanding that verse and the meaning behind it.  The church leaders acted correctly.  They came along the young man, willing to help him, they didn’t hate him.  They didn’t scream “All Fags Deserve to Die”.  (Forgive me, Westboro keeps popping into my head, I mean no offense)  They tried, and they are still trying to help him.  He’s just not a “member”, he doesn’t get to help make decisions in the church.  Oh that more churches and Christians would understand this!!!!

Someone who uses discernment is careful to have ALL of the facts.  Not the surface level, but deeper into the issue.  Just like we shouldn’t look at someone who comes into the church as a visitor (covered in tattoos with a tight miniskirt and combat boots) as someone who is unworthy.  We need to make sure we have all of the facts.  What if she is a new Christian?  What if she came into church looking and seeking God and we Condemn her out of hand.  No one talks to her or even smiles at her.  She’s certainly not going to come back!  We can not have all of the facts when it comes to our friends too.  I struggle with depression, and recently I’ve been struggling with anger.  It’s a fun mishmash of things from my past, and things from the adoption that I have yet to deal with emotionally.  I’m trying.  But I’m human, and eminently fallible.  A couple of nights ago, my sweet Dimples shared something with me about his biological mother.  As he was telling me, and we were discussing the ramifications of what he was telling me, I was dissolving into tears.  We had a great emotional talk (awesome because he doesn’t share his emotions often or easily) and he went to bed.  After I went to bed is when the visions of what he told me kept coming back into my head.  I grew angrier and angrier as the night went on.  I couldn’t talk to Papi because he was so furious that I think steam was literally coming out of his ears.  So I turned to Facebook.  I don’t have a lot of in real life friends that have adopted from the foster system, though I do have one or two.  I do have a lot of Facebook friends that are adoptive or foster parents.  I knew they would understand my anger (even though I shouldn’t have been that angry).  I really just needed to hear (or see) that it was all going to be ok.  That he may have gone through that – but he has a loving family now and won’t ever go through it again.  I was truly furious and my post reflected that.

“There are moments when i wish i could meet bio mom. Mostly so i can hurt her as badly as she had hurt my children. I know how wrong that is, but man oh man. That woman is a nasty piece of work. Thank God she had her tubes tied. she should have never had one child, let alone six.
And then, when i calm down, i know that some of the things she has done are because she never healed from being abandoned by her bio mom. It is not a good excuse, but it helps me calm down some.
 — feeling angry.”

Now, most people I know that read the post understood what I was saying.  That there are days where I’m horribly angry at an injustice done to my children.  That one of the reasons I post it is so that I don’t tell my kids (in anger) how I feel about their birth mother.  But one person got offended.  She messaged me about how the post offended her because bio mom chose life, and because I am supposed to love others.  I completely understood what she was saying.  Yes.  Birth mom chose life.  I appreciate that she didn’t have an abortion.  After all, I benefit from her choice because I am now the proud parent of three of her six children.  I am a huge Anti abortion Pro Life person, so I do understand what she was saying.  But to be perfectly honest here, I wish she would have given her children up for adoption immediately upon their birth instead of dragging them through the hell of being in and out of foster care for their entire lives.  They were abused by her, abused by foster parents (not all of them), and abused by the system.  No, I wouldn’t have custody of them….but they wouldn’t have had to live through that.  I should love her like Christ loved her.  Yep.  Got that too.  I see her more clearly than others might.  I know that the reason she has lived how she has lived is because she has never gotten over her own trauma.  She’s never made peace with herself or with God – and I wish for that.  Kissy and I have even sat down and prayed for that.  But the person who messaged me didn’t have the full story.  They know my family almost completely through Facebook.  She is a wonderful wife.  A wonderful Christian.  A wonderful mom to 5 BIOLOGICAL children.  She has no knowledge of the trauma my children have suffered, and the trauma I suffer trying to help them heal.  I tried to explain it to her, and she just doesn’t understand why I struggle to love bio mom.  She simply did not have all of the facts before she tried to hold me accountable.  And I am guilty of the same thing.  I’ve been guilty of holding someone accountable without knowing the whole story.  I’ve actually apologized to several foster parents and adoptive parents because before I was one of them myself, I just didn’t understand.  I didn’t understand what parenting RAD kids does to you.  I’m not angry at her.  I do understand.  I’ve been there, done that, bought the t-shirt!

A discerning person makes sure they confront someone in private.  No one wants to see their dirty laundry aired all over social media, or in the middle of church or another public place.  It immediately puts one on guard and on defense.  I truly believe that is why when we are settling disputes, we are to confront them one on one first.

And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer. Matthew 18:15-17

One of the constant battles in our house is the battle of modesty.  I have not always been the most modest of women.  You would have trouble matching the outfits I wore as a 20 something with the person you have come to know and love (lol) on this blog.  As a mom, and as I have grown in my relationship with Christ, I have struggled with my modesty.  Several years ago, I felt called to wear skirts or dresses only, so I did that and as the girls were young, I required them to do it as well.  And then I fell.  I allowed other people’s opinions of my skirt wearing to sway me.  I allowed the difficulty of finding skirts that weren’t mini skirts to sway me.  I allowed the inconvenience of wearing skirts while hiking, camping, or doing sports to sway me.  And I quit.  I kind of jumped off the modesty train altogether.  And I allowed Barbie and BAM! to jump off as well.  Fast forward to about this time last year.  I was at the park with several other home school families.  One mom (one of my favorites) in particular was there.  She has 4 boys (older and younger than mine) and two little girls.  After all of the other families had left, she came and sat beside me on the bench.  The kids were playing and she asked if she could speak to me about something.  I could tell she was really struggling with something because she was having trouble looking me in the eye, her eyes were moist, and she was having trouble just spitting out what she wanted to say.  Strange, because she is normally very forthright.  I told her she could say anything.  And out with it she came.  She and her husband were really concerned with how Barbie was dressing.  Her older boys were having problems NOT looking at Barbie in her small shorts and tight tops.  Her little girls were trying to mimic Barbie.  They were afraid that they would have to sever our friendship because of the effect Barbie’s’ dress was having on her family.  I thanked her for letting me know what was going on, and purposed to make sure that Barbie was dressed more modestly when we were together.  She approached me in private, so I wasn’t offended and I didn’t get defensive.  After a lot of praying, and listening, I realized that I was wrong for jumping off the modesty train.  And much like a hobo riding the rails, I jumped right back on!  Barbie and BAM! and Kissy are struggling.  They are teenagers, and it’s really hard to jump a train that is going opposite of the “cool” train.  But I support them without forcing, and they are very willing especially to be modest when there are guy friends coming over!

My fellow home school mom and friend did it right.  She confronted me in private and with love, and I heard her, I heard God.  And it didn’t sting!

So, we’ve come to the conclusion that discernment is seeing the reality of a situation with all of the facts, realizing that we are no better than anyone else, and confronting in private.  So how is this different from judgment?

I’ll be honest.  I don’t like the word judgment.  I think this word is the one used most incorrectly by just about everyone.  I consider discernment to be judgment.  Though I know most don’t see it like that, they see judgment as condemnation.  I see judgment as having a right response to something….like judging if it is safe to make a right turn.  Where most see judgment as a sentence imposed by a judge.  For the purposes of shortening this incredibly long post, we’re going to look at judgment like most of the world does, as synonymous with condemnation.  Please feel free to use those words interchangeably for the remaining balance of this post!

Making a judgment of someone is usually coming from a place in you that is lacking.  When you condemn someone else for an action, it can be because you yourself is struggling with the same sin or one worse. How often do you get angry with your kids for something you do on a regular basis that you know is wrong?????  I know a man who holds forth on a regular basis.  He is very quick to point on every flaw he sees in people.  He has a low opinion of people in general and doesn’t mind sharing it.  He is especially critical of men who cheat on or abuse their wives.  Come to find out that he has cheated on his wife.  And before they divorced, he hit her hard enough on the chest to leave bruises.  Was he cheating the entire marriage?  I don’t think so.  But we as a people, tend to criticize others for doing what we do or want to do and can’t because it’s wrong.  The criticism is coming from a guilty conscience, knowledge of our sin that we don’t want to accept.

Condemnation of a person is usually done in a very public arena.  Think judge in a courtroom.  I (used to) have a friend that did this on a regular basis on my Facebook.  Any little thing that I posted that she didn’t like, she would attack me…on my Facebook page.  It wasn’t a friendly exchange of ideas.  It wasn’t a discussion of facts and opinions.  It was “you are wrong and this is why and no matter what you say you are wrong.”  It was vicious.  It was mean.  It was constant.  It was so bad that I had to “un”friend her both on Facebook and in real life.  Which hurt me greatly.  I love her.  And I still wish she was in my life. But boundaries have to be drawn sometimes.    There are a lot of things posted on Facebook that I don’t agree with.  I either keep scrolling, or message someone, or I might make one comment.  I won’t get into arguments with people anymore.  It can be toxic.  There is a place for confronting someone in public.

And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer. Matthew 18:15-17

It still needs to be handled with love.  I will be honest (again).  In the above situation, I had trouble confronting my friend about what she was doing.  It hurt.  And I didn’t want to lose her as a friend.  So I just let it go for way too long.  And then when I did confront her, I took the shy girls way out, I wrote her a letter.  I don’t know if that made it worse or better.  But we aren’t friends anymore. 😥

When a judge makes a sentence on someone, they are in possession of all the known facts.  Both the prosecutor and the defense have to disclose any pertinent facts to the other side so that it can be decided if it has any relevance.  We will never know all of the facts.  We don’t know the history of every person.  Whether they had a domineering mother or an abusive father.  We don’t know what their childhood was like.  We don’t know what makes them tick.  And that’s why we can’t condemn someone.  We are not their judge.  Only God can do that.  Only He can condemn someone to eternal separation from Him, or pardon them with His Grace.  We can call something a sin.  We can say that someone is guilty of that sin if we witness it.  We can not say they will go to hell for it…that is making ourselves equal with God (the original sin).  We don’t know their heart.  We don’t know if they are struggling.  This is the part where the Westboro church has it wrong.  They have made themselves judge of everyone in America and have found that they are lacking…..that WE are going to hell.  Not our job.  Not our purview to say that.

I have to share something that happened yesterday.  Some Jehovah Witnesses came to the door.  We had finished school and were cleaning up the house getting ready for guests.  I didn’t slam the door in their face.  I welcomed them with a smile.  They quickly said they were Jehovah Witnesses.  Now, I don’t believe that JW’s have their doctrine correct.  Nowhere near.  But I do believe that they have something right.  They go out and witness to anyone who will give them five seconds.  I don’t do that, do you?  So I complimented them on it.  I told them I am a conservative believer and that I don’t believe the same thing that they do.  I told them that I wasn’t interested in their book, website, or video.  But I told them that I applaud their effort at witnessing and made sure I reminded them to drink lots of water.  (It’s Florida after all!)  THEY left with smiles, and I closed the door with a smile I couldn’t remove.  If they come back, maybe I will have a chance to really talk to them.  Maybe my kindness and love (instead of condemnation and slammed doors) will reach them for Christ.

And there is the difference.  Condemnation usually doesn’t include any love.  Even if it is prefaced with “I love you”.  Condemnation isn’t truly looking at your heart and seeing it.  Condemnation comes from a selfishness and pride.  Condemnation is loud and ugly.

Discernment comes from a place of humility.  Discernment comes with Christ’s love behind in and in it.  Discernment comes quietly.  I am not perfect.  I never will be.  I still think, after all of this, that discernment and judgment are the better synonyms.  So thinking that, I’m going to make a statement.  And I hope it doesnt’ offend.  I want to be a judgmental person.  From now on, I’m going to try to take the “you are so judgmental” comment with a smile.  I can only hope and pray that I truly am using a judmental, oops, discerning spirit.