You Say Independent Like its a Bad Thing…

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I admit. I am an independent woman. I can do most things by myself. I was raised by an ultra independent woman. I never saw being independent as being a bad thing. A few years ago, someone made this statement: “Oh, I KNOW just how independent you are.” They clearly did not mean it as a compliment. In fact, they find my independence offensive. This statement bothered me for quite some time. Am I not to be independent? Am I to be, as the world sees meekness, powerless or even brainless? I have many friends who are single and who are told, “you’re too independent to be married” or “you’d never submit to your husband you’re so independent.” Some are told, “It would take a very strong man to rein you in.” So I went to the Bible and started digging. Do you know what I found? Some extremely independent women!!!! Women who are heralded as being virtuous. So, let’s begin in no particular order.

The first woman who comes to mind doesn’t have a name, but she is clearly defined as a strong, independent woman. Proverbs 31 describes this woman as a hard worker, industrious, business minded, frugal, fearless, and an entrepreneur. She is compassionate, kind, and wise. She is not a slacker. Her husband is not threatened by her. Quite the opposite. His heart trusts in her and he praises her. He is known in the gates and is a respected man. Do you think he’d be held in high esteem if his wife was so independent he was emasculated? Her children rise up and call her blessed. They are not afraid of her. Verse 29 sums it all up by saying, “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”

Secondly, meet Abigail. In I Samuel 25 Abigail is described as “of good understanding and of a beautiful countenance.” (verse 3) We read that her husband was “churlish and evil in his doings.” His name is Nabal and Nabal means fool or senseless. Here is an abbreviated scenario. David, who was to be king, was in the area and sent servants to Nabal to ask for provisions. Nabal, being foolish, says “Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse?” (Even in the day before social media, I’m sure David’s encounter with Goliath got around.) Nabal harshly refuses and sends David’s messengers on their way. Long story short, David wants to right this wrong in blood, a servant of Nabal’s finds out, tells Abigail, and she springs to action. She gathers food and drink for David AND his men, rode out to meet David, and fell at his feet. She took the blame (verse 24-“upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be:”), intercedes and mediates on behalf of her husband and household, and convinces David to not shed blood. Nabal ends up dying either by stroke or heart attack and Abigail goes on to marry King David. This is not the work of a weak woman. This is a wise, strong, and independent woman.

In Judges 4 we find a woman named Jael. Allow me to set the scene.  Sisera was the captain of King Jabin’s Canaanite army. As they were being defeated by the Israelites, Sisera fled (real hero, huh?). He sought refuge at the property of a man named Heber, a man who had an alliance with King Jabin. Heber’s wife, Jael, was very accommodating. She welcomed him in, gave him some nice warm milk to drink (maybe some fresh cookies?), and covered him with a blanket. Once Sisera was lulled to sleep, Jael quietly and expertly drove a tent spike through his temple, fulfilling the prophecy that a woman would receive the honor of killing Sisera. In Judges 5, Barak and Deborah sang her praises. Literally.

Speaking of Deborah, she was Israel’s only female judge. Talk about your independent woman. Queen Esther entered into the presence of King Xerxes without being summoned. In the days of the Persians this would mean death, but she was determined and grace was extended. Jochebed defied the king’s orders and hid Moses. She eventually put him in the Nile, he was found by a princess, and Jochebed was able to nurse him and raise him for a few more years, and was paid to do it. Time does not permit me to expound on the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27), Rahab (Joshua 2), Jehosheba (II Kings 11), and many others.

So to you independent women: Good on ya! Don’t be embarrassed to be how God made you. There are obviously boundaries, but don’t pretend to be something you’re not. God used many independent women throughout the Bible. Don’t let someone try to put you down by saying you’re too independent. If you are living in accordance with God’s Word, you’re just fine.

 

 

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Tutor Gifts!

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Even though we are a homeschool family, we are a part of a wonderful program called Classical Conversations. On the elementary level we meet once a week for 24 weeks. It  a formal program (as opposed to a relaxed co-op) and the students are split into classes by age. We have been CCers for 6 years now. And we have about 15 years to go.

At the end of the year I love to give out tutor gifts. (The class leaders are called tutors, not teachers. CC believes the parents are the teachers and have the final say.) The gifts are not always extremely expensive, but we want to show our gratitude for those tutors who have invested their time to be with our kids. I also hand out student gifts to the students I have had the privilege to tutor.

This year the girls picked out what they wanted to give their tutors. Even Courtney, although she was only there 2 times because she was not officially enrolled. (She will be next year!) Lydia has 2 tutors: one for Foundations and one for Essentials. Emma is only in Foundations.

Emma chose a teal plastic basket, beach theme beach towel, teal cup with a straw, some rice krispy treats, granola bars, and juice mix ins for water. Her tag said “Thanks for helping me shine!” She was pretty proud of herself for picking all that out. Lydia gave her Essentials tutor a basket of tortilla chips, salsa, queso, and bean dip. Her tag read “you are NACHO average tutor.” I’m still working on her Foundations tutor gift. I’m thinking a gift card for $100 or some new LulaRoe pieces, but daddy is not on board yet. (For those of you who don’t know, I am Lydia’s tutor.) Courtney gave her tutor some chocolate chip cookies with a tag that said “Thanks for making me one smart cookie.” We also presented our campus director with a platter of 3 dozen cookies. Her tag said “you are sweeter than chocolate chip cookies.” (and I forgot a picture for that one.)

Finally, my students received a personalized bookmark, an educational book, and a bag of “bookworms” to eat as they read. I have had the privilege of tutoring in CC for 6 years. Every year the Lord has taught me something through each of my students.

For those of you on the homeschool journey, CC or not, keep going. It is worth the good days, bad days, the steam coming out your ears days. It is not easy, but nothing worth having ever is.

 

Don’t Be That Wife: Part Dos

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One of my last posts was Don’t Be That Wife. This is the second installment. Sometimes we need to be reminded of some basics. First, the Bible doesn’t want us to be hateful, angry individuals. Anger is equated to foolishness (Proverbs 14:17, 29; Ecclesiastes 7:9). Our first priority is to be a godly woman. Married or single. Children or no children. God’s Word clearly outlines how we are to conduct ourselves. Secondly, if you are married, you are to be a godly wife. You are to mirror Christ through your marriage. Lastly, you are to be a godly mom. Our attitudes will greatly influence our families, both our spouses and our children.

In Titus 2, we read that the aged women are to teach the younger women. I have all girls. They have some wonderful examples to look to at our church. Godly women. Faithful women. Discerning women. But this verse also applies to me as a mother. I can pretend to be all that and a bag of chips at church and I can post all the right things on Facebook but do you know who really sees whether I am sober, discreet, chaste, and a keeper at home? My children. It is my responsibility to teach my daughters these principles. I can give lip service all I want, but my actions and my attitude will speak volumes. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “More is caught than is taught.”

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This man is amazing!

If I am constantly hateful to my husband, it shows my girls that I don’t truly love him (Titus 2:4), it shows them my disobedience (Titus 2:5), and it blasphemes the Word of God (Titus 2:5). My attitude toward my husband will greatly influence my children. My girls will more than likely pick up my habits and be hateful to their spouse, if they get married. They can overcome it and break the cycle, but it is a difficult journey. It can affect sons as well. They may be more likely to marry someone who will verbally abuse them, thinking that is normal.  Not only that, but my children will quite possibly treat their friends with the same disdain they observe day in and day out. Eventually, they will complain they don’t have many friends. Is it any wonder with attitudes such as theirs? I don’t think we realize how much our stinky attitudes are soaked up by our children. Even if you are pleasant as punch to your children, having an antagonistic relationship with their dad makes them more likely to resent you as they grow older, if they don’t grow up just like you. Even if they don’t grow up to resent you, biblically, your attitude is wrong. Just remember: What you do, your children will do in excess.

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Denver/Seattle Game

If my husband and I do have intense fellowship, which is not very often, apologies are not only made to each other, but to our children as well. My children need to see forgiveness, not harboring a grudge. My husband and I were raised 2 different ways. My parents fought to the death so to speak, and I don’t remember apologies ever being made. It eventually blew over. Guess what I brought into our marriage? An antagonistic spirit when things didn’t go my way. And I expected my husband to argue with me. My husband’s parents never argued in front of the children. The problem with that is my husband never saw conflict and resolution. So guess what he brought into our marriage? If you love one another, you NEVER argue. That’s not healthy either. We’ve had to work extremely hard to find the right balance. (We have, by the way.) I never want my children to live in fear of “Is today the day one of my parents leave?” and I never want to hear my child plead with me: “Please don’t fight with daddy anymore.” Your relationship with your husband will affect your children. (Anyone remember Jon and Kate Gosselin?  Were you really surprised when they split up? Did you ever watch some of the earlier episodes?)

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Bedlam, Baby!!

I’m going to be transparent here. You also need a healthy intimate relationship with your husband. Of the couples I know that have a nonexistent intimate relationship, there are issues. Do you know how it feels to go through weight ups and downs, fertility issues, weight ups and downs, miscarriage, traumatic birth, cancer, more weight ups and downs, and your husband still find you attractive?! Oh. My. Word. It’s amazing. You have to question his sanity sometimes, but man, is that true love or what? Hold hands, hug, let your husband kiss you. Kiss your husband. There is security in that for your children. (And it’s so much fun to gross our kids out when we kiss.) Our children will be bombarded with the world’s view of intimacy and marriage. Teach them what is right and godly by modeling it for them.

Ladies, your relationship with your husband is vital to the development of your children. (I’m not talking about an abusive situation here. That’s a different story.) Please, please, please understand what an effect you have. If you are a ministry family, your home life, church life, and social media life must be consistent, or your children will see the hypocrisy and want nothing to do with it. If you are a Christian family, your home life, church life, and social media life must be consistent, or your children will see the hypocrisy and want nothing to do with it. Do your best to model a godly marriage.

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Isn’t he handsome?!?!