New Testament Parenting

The Spirit could use any verse to lead you in how to parent in any situation, but here are some verses to get you thinking about relying on His Word instead of your works to raise your children.

Love your children.  Titus 2:4  (1 Corinthians 13 tells what that looks like: patient, kind, keeps no record of wrong, not irritable, not demanding of its own way, never gives up…)

Fathers, don’t embitter your children.  Ephesians 6:4

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Matthew 7:12

Go the extra mile.  Matthew 5:41  (This is in context of someone doing something wrong towards you. You do something extra good towards them. This relates to the next verse.)

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Romans 12:21

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, bearing with one another in love.  Ephesians 4:2

Above all, love one another deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?  Romans 2:4

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.  Hebrews 12:11  (The word “sorrowful” here in some translations is “painful”, but that’s not what the Greek says, and everywhere else it is translated something like sorrow.)

By Example:

I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.  1 Corinthians 9:27

Do everything without disputing, arguing, complaining. Philippians 2:14

You can’t legislate salvation. You can’t enforce holiness. They are works of God alone, acquired by faith alone.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

 

One-of-a-Kind

This is something I posted on facebook more than four years ago, and it just came back to my attention. I don’t think it ever made it onto the blog, and I thought it would encourage you.

While this is an important lesson for those just starting out homeschooling, it’s also a great reminder to all of us: each child is different and each family is different. I like to say that homeschooling is an extension of parenting. Each family does things their own way and that should be reflected in your homeschool. What that means is that your homeschool shouldn’t be a reflection of the school you just pulled your child from.

Do you like to sit on the couch and read together? Then by all means homeschool on the couch not at a desk. If you like to be outside, get the readers and take your books outside. Do you like order and schedules? Then get your work done on the clock. Like to go with the flow? Then follow an interest in history and do several days at once and come back for the science topic another time.

Skip this, add that…I have made the Easy Peasy curriculum to be complete and to not waste a lot of time, BUT you can twist and turn it to fit the shape of your family.

We don’t test because we don’t grade. We don’t grade because we’re not sending home report cards. We know everyday what our children are getting and not getting. We have the freedom to pause and to work on something if need be. There’s no behind in homeschool. You just keep taking a step forward. As long as there is a step forward, you are heading in the right direction, no need to worry about levels and grades.

I hope you have fun having your kids home with you. I hope you can find your family’s homeschool groove and your unique one-of-a-kind education.

Miracle Healings

My husband and I didn’t grow up in any Christian tradition that believed you could expect miraculous healings. We prayed for the sick, but it was just a hope that the medicine, the surgeries, etc. would make them better. It wasn’t with any thought that we might open our eyes and they would be healed.

The Lord first introduced us to the idea when we had been overseas for about a year. We were newly moved into Shutka, the Roma village my husband and daughter visited with the angels. 🙂 My daughter had recently given her life to Christ (very precocious for her preschool age) and her little brother was sick. He had a fever and was just a lump on the couch. My husband called our daughter over, saying that we were going to pray for her brother. She came running over but didn’t wait for us to pray together. She just came over and said, “God, please help Joshua feel better.” My husband and I thought it was the sweetest thing we had ever seen in our whole lives. Then we realized our son had slipped off the couch and was down on the floor playing. In an instant his fever was gone and he was playing. Within another year or two, we became leaders of a house church in Shutka where miraculous healings were a regular thing and it grew more into our lives.

Our family has gone years without stomach bugs at all, but we’ve also seen stomach bugs, colds, etc. healed within hours, even moments. But things didn’t always happen so easily. Our one son was born in Istanbul 7 weeks early after I prayed that he would come early (because of a hard time with the pregnancy) if he could be healthy. We left the hospital after 24 hours. They couldn’t find a reason to keep him. The next child was born on time and at home in my bedroom in America.

The next was born 11 weeks early by C-section in Gaziantep. The doctors told me the day after he was born that he would die. I repeated to myself, “You will live and not die,” over and over holding onto Life and keeping my mind on things above. He is seven now, but that’s not the end of the story. They said he had a hole in his heart and would need surgery. It disappeared. They noticed his body reacting as if he was having a brain bleed. Since they had no equipment to scan his brain (we were in a city in Turkey), they moved him to the government children’s hospital. They saw he had bleeding in his brain. He needed immediate surgery. They didn’t have the part they wanted, but we later learned it was never needed. They postponed the surgery three days in order to get the part from Istanbul. I can trust God’s sovereignty over all that and it doesn’t get me upset and frustrated.

He has what’s described as “severe” brain damage due to this brain bleed. After two months in the hospital, I noticed one day that he wasn’t hooked up to any machines. I asked if we could take him home and was told no because he had lost his sucking reflex. The doctor said they had tried a pacifier and a bottle and to prove his point put his pinky finger in my son’s mouth and he didn’t suck on it, which would be the natural reflex. Now, I knew that I had defied orders and had snuck him out of his incubator a few weeks earlier, with my husband standing guard (we weren’t even supposed to touch him), and I had nursed him that day. If I hadn’t done that, I don’t know that I would have had the faith to argue with the doctor to let me try and nurse him. I made myself a pest until he relented and let me try. He nursed for half an hour and we signed release forms to get him out of the hospital against doctor’s orders, since he refused to believe me that he really nursed. We agreed to bring him back the next day to show he wasn’t losing weight and I brought him back with a nursing blister (which is a good thing)!

Fast forward more than a year and he wasn’t eating anything, only nursing. He gagged on water. I couldn’t get him to eat even really thinned out rice cereal. This also meant he wasn’t talking yet. The lips, tongue, etc. are involved in both and he had lots of motor issues caused by the brain damage. But when he was around eighteen months old, one day he just reached for my chocolate milk like he wanted it, so I let him try it, and he drank it. And that was that. He could eat and drink normally from that day. He never did have rice cereal or baby food. He just went straight to regular food from not being able to even swallow water. That also means he started talking and has never needed therapy for speaking – he has always been able to speak clearly.

He is still in a wheelchair, but we do believe any day he could rise up and walk. But we still see God’s miracles in his body. In December 2018 we saw a miracle after his doctor told us he needed surgery on his hips. The one hip had deteriorated to the point of needing surgery and the other one was close, so he told us to come back in a few months so that surgery could be done on both hips at once. He told us the condition only worsens. He said it was “impossible” to improve at all. I knew that wasn’t true because I knew My Father. When we came back, both hips had reversed. He agreed it seemed like too huge a change to be accounted for by a mistake in the x-ray or reading it.

I stand by my conviction that all we need to do is know God. If we really knew who He was, we’d love and obey Him, we’d love others, we’d live loved – at rest, knowing He’s good and for us and is unchanging and will never fail us. Holding firm in knowing who He is I call abiding. I sometimes think of it as being rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:17). You can picture a tree with deep roots. Sometimes it’s a peaceful idyllic scene with sun and cool breeze. Sometimes there’s a storm that’s snapping branches, but either way, you, the tree, stand firm in your place, roots secure in your knowledge of God’s love for you.

Short-Story Contest

Sharpen those pencils! The EP Short-Story Writing Contest starts in one week!

Pencil, Sharpener, Notebook, Paper, Education, Supplies

April 15th marks the opening of our short-story contest. This will be our second annual contest! A few things have changed in the rules, so make sure to check the Short Story Contest page. Entries must be shorter (500-1500 words) and they all must be submitted on Google Docs to keep them looking uniform.

Your story can be fiction or non-fiction, but if you are writing non-fiction, remember that it’s a story contest. Tell a story; don’t just tell about something.

On the contest page you can read last year’s winning stories. One of the first place winners was actually the first to turn in her story, so no need to hold out till the end. Our judges would appreciate not getting half the stories on the last day!

Submissions will be accepted from April 15th to May 15th. The registration link will appear on the contest page during that time. You’ll register once you have your story ready. I can’t wait to see your entries. Our stories last year got thousands of readers!

Have fun and get writing!

Short Story Contest Rules

More Miracle Stories

This week I told more provision stories. They were stories of how God answered prayer, moved in people, and moved in circumstances, all the while showing us He is our good Father, always seeing us, always for us.

There was a time we were going to be spending three months in Macedonia, and my husband and I each regretted not bringing something with us. We were talking about it and then I went into our bedroom, and those two things were sitting there next to each other alone in the middle of our bedroom floor. One was a mug my husband had regretted not packing, not something important, not something God cared about, but He cares a whole lot about people.

We learned that day to pray whenever we packed that the Lord would just put in our bags anything we forgot. We forget too much how He can and does take care of us. He must do so many miracles like that that we never notice. I told a few other stories about learning to pray first. We called a washing machine repair man who wasn’t going to be able to come for a few days. We realized we hadn’t prayed and the washing machine was fixed instantly. Another time computer fix-it people spent ten hours working on my computer and couldn’t fix the problem. I realized I hadn’t prayed and did, and it was fixed. I got on those stories because just two hours before I did my recording I was looking for something in the kitchen and kept looking where it belonged and my husband looked and one of our sons looked, and I gave up and moved on with dinner without it and then realized I hadn’t prayed. I apologized to the Lord and started praying. Walking back over to that same drawer I prayed, “Lord, please help me find…” I pulled open the drawer and it was just right there. I didn’t even have time to finish my sentence.

Once the Lord sent the miracle on the way before we even knew we needed help. Our phone stopped working, which was also our internet connection at the time. We were living in Istanbul. My husband didn’t want to take the day standing in line at a government office trying to report it and went out to go about his day and figured he’d tackle it another time. He left and there was a knock at the door. It was the phone repair man. He thought I was a lunatic as I asked him over and over again why he was there. He was like, “Is your phone not working? Well…” He had no idea why I was so crazy. God must have put us on his work order for the day before we even knew our phone wasn’t working.

Back when my husband left his work in Istanbul and we decided to work for Jesus and live without an income, the Lord sent us an encouragement, showing us a little glimpse about how He could provide for us. We didn’t need food or anything at the time; it was just an encouragement that He was in the decision and would be taking care of us. A man showed up at our apartment; he had never been there before. We don’t even know how he found us, but he brought us all the fruits and vegetables he hadn’t sold that day from his food cart that he used to sell in the streets. On his way over, he had stopped and bought treats for the kids, cookies and a whole cake. We ate that for dinner that night and our family gained an expression, “God provides cake too.” He doesn’t just make you eat your vegetables. God gives good gifts. He is a good Father. We have abundant life in Christ!

The final story of the week is of the time God gave us a glimpse into how He protects us. We had just arrived in Macedonia. Our now twenty-year-old daughter was only two then. She was very verbal, could speak in paragraphs. She and my husband were waiting alone at the bus stop to head into the Roma (Gypsy) village where his language teacher lived, where we would be living in the next year. It is called Shutka. My daughter asked him why those two men always came with them when they went there. My husband looked around and saw no one. “What two men?” She pointed to them. “Those two men. They always get on the bus and come with us when we go into Shutka.” They always did. This was just a time when He gave us a big reminder of the fact that we were always guarded.

Psalm 91:9-11 “If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the LORD, who is my refuge–then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”