PPD, Psalm 73, and a Windy Walk

“No, wind! Go away!” is my three-year-old daughter’s response to the frequent gusts of wind on our winter walks. She cries and squirms while she shouts, exerting all of her energy in the hopes that something she does will have an effect. Ignoring my reminder that only God has control of the wind and my suggestion that she take shelter in the stroller’s sunshade, her protests continue until the gusts subside. Her behavior is both amusing and exasperating, but she is not the only one who acts in this manner.
After her younger sister was born, I sank into postpartum depression. I frequently begged God to “make it stop,” and erred by becoming angry when it did not. There were numerous other factors, but because of my protests, I, like my toddler, was blind to what my options were and what God gave in answer to my prayers. In the words of the Psalmist, I was senseless and ignorant in my bitterness, but God was still with me (Psalm 73:21-24).
While I felt angry and abandoned, God offered the helps of spiritual disciplines, sleep, and the support of friends and family. He did not remove the wind, but provided a shelter in the midst of it. At the same time, I had the choice to stop complaining and accept what He had given me. God did not send these trials to spite or harm me, but as a gift, to remove sin and purify my desires. Neither the wind nor the raging internal storm are out of His sovereign, loving hand. Thus, both my daughter and I can cease insisting on our own way and joyfully commit ourselves to His care.

{this was turned into a 3-minute talk for my class; you can listen to it here}


Playing Chipmunk with the Word of God

{a word picture for James 1:22-25, assignment for a class}

Our first daughter ate everything we put in her mouth. She would gobble it up and then beg for more. On the other hand, our second child pockets food away like a chipmunk, holding it in her cheek. She will sit in her high chair, toddle around the house, and beg for stories with a large bulge protruding from one side of her face. In these circumstances, she refuses to chew and swallow until we coax her into it.

In a similar manner, all who hear the Word preached have a “bite” put into their mouths. It is then their choice to act on the Word. Will the listener apply the Word to her life, as a child ingests his food? Through repeated, intentional action, the hearer becomes a doer as the “bite” works its way through our whole person and into our daily habits. This is not a clinical, intellectual consideration of the truth, but deep meditation that reaches to and seeks to change the desires of the heart.

A child that merely holds food in her mouth and does not swallow it does not receive any nutritional value from her meal. In the same way, those who hear the Word may think they will profit from it, but they do not receive the blessing that comes from obedience. Unless a listener becomes an effectual doer, she is only a deluded, forgetful hearer.

Reflections After Three Years Graduated

I can’t believe it’s been over three years since I graduated. Those years have flown by! I’ve learned and grown so much in them, in so many ways.
Looking back, I think the biggest thing that stands out to me is how I and others view my decision not to go to college, and with that, my transition to adulthood.

Maybe it’s just that people are understanding that not going to college is what I really want to do (or that getting married is a good reason not to go) and so they’re more open to the idea, but the way I talk about it has also changed. While I do believe that the primary sphere of women is in the home and preparing for that should be our goal, my reasoning has changed in seeing that to be more of wisdom than law. And in the past few years I haven’t seen it as much as not going to college as I have as wanting to pursue things that don’t lead me on the path to college and having time to serve at church and in my family in ways I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. This last year a lot of new avenues have opened up. I’ve co-led a girls’ Bible study, played regularly in the chamber orchestra, done music for weddings and a conference, helped arrange and direct the church’s carol service, and babysat for a time of reading and prayer the wives of our church staff have semi-regularly. I haven’t been as good as I had hoped I would be about spending time with other families, but I have done it occasionally.
A lot of time was taken up in things I’ve done in past years, too, like making baby quilts, teaching piano, and practicing music.

One thing that I’ve realized a lot more fully this year is that you don’t have to be professional to use your talents, or even have professional training. That’s not to discredit professional training. It’s very useful and can open up even more avenues to serve. However, some people imply that that’s the only way to use talent, especially musical talent, is to get more professional training. While I want to continue to grow in skill and learn from others, you can learn a lot from the internet. But the biggest way I’ve learned is by doing it, making mistakes, and doing it over.
It’s always amazed me how I have never been lacking in opportunities to use music. I shared before how I had wanted to use music at church but it wasn’t going to work out right to play for corporate worship – and then that same day Sarah asked me to help her with music for the carols service. And then a few months later I got roped into playing for the Ladies’ Conference (I say ‘roped’ because I didn’t necessarily choose to, but I’m very glad I did get roped into because I wouldn’t have chosen to but am thankful I did it).

Those things have also given me a lot more opportunities to work with adults in the church. For a while I think everyone (myself included) was somewhat confused on whether I was an adult or child, especially because I lived with my family. I feel like right now I’m in a good place – still very much a part of my family, in and out of church, but also having opportunities to serve how I’ve been gifted individually.

What’s up for next fall?
It will be my last months at home, and I want to use them well! I won’t be teaching piano as much, but will still have a few students. I want to be more flexible to go to other cities or travel with daddy on layovers or just have less on my normal schedule so I can work with other peoples’ schedules more to visit them. I will hopefully be playing with the orchestra still, making a few more quilts, maybe helping out with Candace’s choir, and doing final touches on wedding planning.
I want to be better about getting off my computer and doing things with Nate and Candace, or going outside, or cooking and baking.
… and I’d love it if someone else got married and wanted an oboe in their wedding. Or needed an oboe for their pit orchestra, because those things are my favorite to play for. So there’s a not-so-subtle hint for people in the region. 😉

And for the summer – I’ll be working at Csehy and enjoying family time. And since Csehy starts soon, there will probably be a blogging break. 🙂

One Year Later

Today marks one year since my highschool graduation open house. I can hardly believe it’s already been a year.
I used to stop in the middle of schoolwork and ‘daydream’ about when I’d be done with school and what I’d do. There was a short period of time when I considered college, but that didn’t last long as I realized that college didn’t fit with the normative calling for women in scripture, and that I’d be more fruitful at home. Oh, yes, I can go into a long tirade about ‘Well the Bible says this and that about women going to college…’ but I admit that in the last year, I’ve realized that although it’s true that God ordains women as the keepers of the home and I desire to prepare for that… in the long run, it’s about being fruitful – part of that is through obeying His commands to women, the other part is through being available.
There were so many options… and even though it doesn’t seem on some days that I chose that many, other days it feels like I chose WAY too many.
So, here’s a small snapshot of my life, school year 2010-2011. Not every day was like this, some were lazier, some busier, some days held more time of fewer things, other less time of more things… some I cooked and cleaned all day while overseeing school and holding down the fort… others it was just me at home all day… others I went to visit Cait or work at Edge or visit someone. But this, May 11, 2011, was one of my favorite days (this and the day I spent at the Y’s helping and visiting)…
The room was a grey-ish purple when my alarm went off at 6:30. I’d been having such wonderful sleep that I really didn’t want to get up (that’s rare for me), so I rolled over for 10 more minutes, then got up and ready to go running – the only downside of May; it starts getting too hot to go for long runs outside, so into the gym and onto a treadmill I went. I prayed and listen to bluegrass while I ran (Bluegrass and praying make treadmills tolerable), then came home and got cleaned up and ready for the day. Then it was downstairs to my lovely, comfortable glider where I read a chapter of “With Christ,” by Andrew Murray, and then Isaiah 63 in French and then I studied it in English. This was followed by a quick breakfast with everyone except daddy, who was already at work (normally we eat most meals together, but daddy had to go in at 5 AM).
Then I set to work and tuned almost all of the unisons on our piano, then tuned some octaves (my hands are almost too small to tune octaves. The one downside of being short). I fixed a rattle in the piano, reviewed a bit in the book, then went upstairs to write a few emails. Then was an hour of oboe practice – scales, Rubank, Ferling, Krommer, Saint-Saëns… and then I spent half an hour figuring out instrumentation for an arrangement of “The Minstrel Boy” that is in the idea stage.
Lunch – za’atar, cheese, tomato, and lettuce sandwich. Yum. Then out into a resident and house-less road layout with signs and roundabouts and turns and shrubbery – from far away, it’s just signs rising out of the dusty ground. We drove there for about an hour – turns, roundabouts, lane changes, Y-turns, going faster than 10 km an hour, and doing something other than parking. I’m starting to like driving.
Then at home I practiced piano and helped with dinner (Italian food. YUM). After dinner we did Arabic with daddy and looked at a passage in John related to where we were in 1 John, and he read some of “Endurance” while I quilted and the kids had dessert… then I went to get a cup of tea and sit down with “Democracy in America,” and “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” (Hmmm… funny connection between those books, hey?). I almost fell asleep reading, even before 10, so I turned in a wee bit early, after praying and reviewing the day and previewing the following day with mommy.

Re-reading that after I wrote it a few weeks ago, I’m thinking about how crazy it is how different one day is from another. Before it was school, school, school, same subjects every day, basically the same thing every day.
Here’s a summary of the things I’ve been up to in the past year.

Exercise – I started off the year running a mile every day. When it got cooler, I started working towards 5K, which I could do by Christmas. I was just hitting 4 miles straight when the weather was getting too hot, so now it’s inside on the treadmill and rowing machine. I did a fair bit of Irish dance, too, but that was rather relaxed this year because of schedules that never lined up. I plan to run more over the summer (though to be honest it’s more like jogging), where I can go and go and not run by the same place more than twice in a day and still do 4 miles.

Languages – Every school day we did Arabic with daddy, using a course used at a language school near here. A lot of it is already familiar, but having the accountability to work at it and do all the drills has really helped my Arabic improve, though it’s not nearly where I’d like it to be someday.
I really slacked off in keeping up with French. The first half of the year I barely did anything, then I started reading in my French Bible whatever I was reading in English, and from time to time I’d review verbs. This and regular piano lessons for Nate and Candace were probably the weakest points of discipline (what a word, I keep coming back to it again and again. “I don’t want to dance this morning… Discipline yourself. Do it. Die, self, die.”)

Nutrition – Lots of talking with mommy, reading the nutrition books we have and a few others, researching, experimenting… I find nutrition fascinating, but also dangerous because it can easily become an idol. Same with exercise. I want to be healthy, and what at first is discipline – to not eat much sugar, etc., or to exercise often, becomes pleasure and I don’t feel guilty not doing it as much as I feel unhappy. Maybe because it breaks routine, but also because I’ve grown used to it and actually like it better. Nate and Candace don’t understand at all how I can’t handle much sugar or white bread and other such food… I don’t understand how they can stand it.

Home keeping – Every year we make meal plans and they never get done. This year was the best. I made maybe 20 meal plans I and cooked at least 10 of them, as well as meals that got made instead. I cooked about once a week, often helping mommy on other days. It was fun when she went on trips with daddy or was sick and I got to do a few nights or even a whole week in a row. If I schedule it in, I really enjoy cooking and baking and planning, and even shopping for food. I’m hoping to do even more next year – we have a cookbook called “Mediterranean Light,” that I’d absolutely love to cook through. I love Mediterranean food! I’m also trying to work more on cooking more spontaneously. “These are the ingredients we have… let’s try this!” I do it a lot with sautéing vegetables and am getting braver with regard to sauces and main dishes.
I also oversaw the chore chart and revised it a few times. I think we have a system that works pretty well now and that we’re all as happy as you can be with chores. 😉 I’d love it if someone always mopped the floors for me. I’ll do your dishes for you in return…

Musical Composition – I started out the school year thinking “I’ll just finish the Aggadah for piano.” But as I was writing it, I thought “This would sound amazing with string quintet.” So I just finished it for String quintet. (The rough draft, anyway). I worked some on a family hymnal, and arranged and re-wrote a few things I’d worked on before. Soon I’ll start an arrangement of “The Minstrel Boy,” inspired by this. I really enjoy comp, but it IS work. There’s days when your creativity fails you but you still have to press on – and that’s where theory is REALLY helpful. … and why writing for more instruments than one is more enjoyable, though it takes longer. I’m trying to figure out a way to “use” it, but keep reminding myself that this work is like my first stories – practice for greater things later, even if they never get used. It’s not useless work, it’s disciplined me, I’ve learned a lot about various instruments and what sounds good and what doesn’t and what to do when you’re out of ideas. Even if comp never goes anywhere beyond my computer, it’s good life training… as has all this been.

Sewing – I sewed a fair bit, had my first try at more serious dress-making, and learned a lot about making patterns and altering patterns and being adaptable and doing what works even if it isn’t ideal. I learned to make sure you sew with a heavy duty needle if you need one (I broke 2 needles in 5 minutes making my camera bag before I realized I just needed the heavy duty needle. Oops). Sewing is becoming one of those things I just do when I need to as opposed to having set aside times to work on it. I don’t have time to do it regularly anymore, and it’s one of the things that’s getting cut out of regularity… more on that later.

Teaching – Nate’s piano lessons are finally regular, Candace is improving in leaps and bounds (and so is my patience, I’m sad to admit… in some ways, it’s so much harder to teach your siblings than it is to teach strangers’ kids. You can discipline them a bit more if they’re your siblings, but I think your fuse is a lot shorter with siblings). Growing in creativity in presenting material to my younger students and getting them to play things again and practice (4 of my students practice regularly, 1 doesn’t have a piano, and the other… every so often she’ll have practiced) and work hard. … and patience.

Reading I used to read over a hundred books during the school year. This year it was only 50. But it’s better that way, because I get more out of them. I’ll list a few favorites or important ones. Some of these I’ve reviewed in the past in more detail.
Preparing to be a Helpmeet – Debi Pearl. (NGJ has some interesting views, but their writings are still encouraging and this book was very good and helpful… I need to read it again).
Practicing Hospitality – Pat Ennis and Lisa tatlock
So Much More – Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin
Let Me Be a Woman – Elizabeth Elliot (definitely a favorite!)
Joyfully at Home – Jasmine Baucham
Courtship and Dating: What’s the Difference? – Dennis Gundersen
The Bronze Ladder – Malcolm Lyon (about 3rd century Christians in Carthage. So good!)
Saint’s Everlasting Rest – Richard Baxter
Mr. Pipes – Douglas bond
Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns – T. David Gordon (I’m passionate about good music and solid words in corporate worship. This book was fantastic).
Letters to Malcolm – C.S. Lewis
The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals
How God Wants us to Worship Him – Dr. Joseph Morecraft (so good!)
The Pastor’s Daughter – Louisa Payson Hopkins (daddy read this for family worship)
Quo Vadis
Letters on Practical Subjects to a Daughter – W.B. Sprague
Alternative Medicine – O’Mathuna and Larimore (a Christian perspective – very good and comprehensive and succinct!)
Abide in Christ – Andrew Murray
On the Origin of Species – Charles Darwin
C.H. Pearson’s “Cabin” series (daddy read these aloud; we really enjoyed them)
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo (Second time in 2 years, can’t keep away from it!)
The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Orczy (always a favorite).
With Christ – Andrew Murray (both books by Andrew Murray were good, but very similar)
Democracy in America – Alexis De Tocqueville (more on this one later. It took a while of very disciplined reading to get through, but was worth it).
Endurance– Alfred Lansing. (Gripping. Our family was captivated by this book, and it’s impacted us all, especially in the season we’re going through right now with daddy’s training and piano tuning. My words won’t do it justice. Get it, especially the copy with an intro by Mr. Dobson, and read it.).

Writing – I wrote a few short stories, but nothing very big. My posts on AP are a bit sparser now, but that’s mostly because I’m spending a lot of time editing. .. and should be spending time working on that musical I mentioned in January. Ha. I’ve written a scene outline and that’s about it. But what I will really enjoy about writing a musical is that it will combine prose, poetry, and music… so I’ll kill three birds with one stone. I finished rough editing of the Victorious Trilogy (which may not be a trilogy for long) and soon will start on really really ‘killing’ them.

Hair cuts – I have to admit, this is one of my least favorite things to do. I don’t mind trimming mommy and Candace’s hair because it’s quick and simple; just straight across. If Nate got hair cuts more often I don’t think I’d mind as much. But it takes so long because his hair gets relatively long and he wants to see what it looks like about every minute. I don’t mind daddy’s a ton because it’s time with him but it’s so complex – with Nate at least I just use clippers the same length all the way across. But it’s on my list to learn and become proficient at, so I’m sticking with it.

Driving – In January daddy and I started going to a nearby parking lot to drive around. In May we started driving to abandoned and unfinished neighborhoods to drive faster and do turns, lane changes, roundabouts, etc. At first I really hated it, I felt like I was multitasking but everything was happening at the same time and needed to be done at the exact same time and it took me a good two months to get used to. But Lord willing, I’ll get my permit as soon as I’m in WA this summer and then get my license soon after my birthday – and then I can drive in Dubai once we transfer it! I’m not really excited about the driving as much as I am about mobility and being able to help out by driving.

Music – Music practice took up so much time… something I’m trying to cut back on… somehow. Once I finish Hanon on piano it should only take 45 minutes to practice instead of an hour and 15… and I need to stop downloading sheet music and focus on learning the music I have now. I’m thinking next year practice will be even more irregular (I finally got down to a practice schedule that worked and wasn’t too crazy – oboe every day except Friday and lesson days, piano and guitar three times a week each. It was very doable. Most of the time…). We’ll see how it works out next year, especially as I’d love to play with an orchestra (instead of) taking oboe lessons, and may play at church. We shall see. I did learn a lot, and play a lot better now than I did 12 months ago!

Gardening – Well, our gardening endeavors seemed to be going well for a time. If you want a harvest count, you’d consider the garden a flop. Because nothing did more than sprout. But the family time digging and pulling up grass, planning with Candace, studying, learning, growing in discipline to water every single morning was worth it. And next year, we’re trying the front yard as half patio half herb garden. I think that will be much better…

Serving – There were days I didn’t get any of ‘my list’ done. There were days where if you walked into the room you’d hear me muttering “Die, self, die!” And there were other days when I was very eager to head out somewhere, or put aside my daily tasks and bake something for a conference, watch children, help a mother, clean the house… but even when I was so happy to do it, there were times when I had to remind myself, “Your life is not your own.” I want to understand that even more fully, that my life is His and for me to use it as He wants.

Photography – This is going to be like sewing, I think, doing it more on impulse than schedule. I take pictures of what I do and where I go and the people I’m with, and I love it, and love that I can preserve memories so clearly and I’m learning the technicalities of it all.

Piano tuning … the cause of greatest grief but also greatest growth in the past year. This post talks some about that. I missed my first goal, which was to have the piano tuned by Christmas. That was a bit too ambitious, considering I started learning at the end of September and I took a month off when we went to Texas. By Christmas, my vision was crushed and I wanted to quit (“Hope deferred makes the heart sick”). Daddy pushed me onwards… and helped me link a lot of things to things that happen in marriages, which helped me be a bit more tenacious, thinking “If I want to quit now, I might want to in marriage, too.” Then the piano tuner came, and that helped. Still, I find it has many ups and downs and some days I love it and others I hate it and never want to see a real piano again. But right now the plan is to tune the piano again (That “again” sounds so wonderful! I tuned it on May 23 for the first time ever!) before I leave for the summer, then again when we get back, and then to start talking to people we know about letting me tune theirs before the tuner comes. … I am so incredibly thankful for a father who would listen to what I was saying and encourage me to keep going and link the lessons I was learning to how I desire to prepare to be a wife and mother and life as a Christian. And something Mrs. Y said to me the other day when I spent the afternoon at their house (it was glorious fellowship. I didn’t want it to end) really helped in a lot of things – when I don’t want to press on in relationships, exercise, tuning, spiritual disciplines – that it’s a calling and duty.

There’s been one main theme coursing through this year: Perseverance. It took on different names, like the second day I tuned, when I was fixing the string I broke. I finished fixing it and re-tuned the strings, but my thought as I put the panel back on the front was, “Wow, I’m going to have to be really tenacious to get this done.”
And then when everything seemed so hard all at once and I kept saying to myself, “persevere, persevere, persevere!
When daddy read “Endurance,” it really put it all into perspective. They were suffering through life-threatening trials, mine weren’t. Which halfway makes it easier because the cost isn’t so great if you fail, but they were often so near to death and so much more exhausted and spread out and suffering than I think I am.
Another thing “Endurance” taught me was the transparency (rather, lack thereof) needed in leadership. Shackleton often couldn’t let his men know he was afraid because it would lower their morale and then they’d really be in trouble. I learned that sometimes we need to push aside what we’re feeling and press on because of calling and duty, and to obey. It seems like such a simple lesson, but it’s been a hard one to learn and apply.
Another lesson learned from “Endurance” was the need to know where you are as well as where you’re going. Some times I know where I’m going all too well and forget where I am and so lose hope because it’s farther away than I think. I learned how lazy I really am (you can be productive without being a hard worker), and how much I want instant gratification.
Learning to persevere. I think I never experienced the need to before for 2 reasons:
1., there was always a break around the corner. Almost everything I did was school related and had a break to look forward to. There isn’t really a break now. That’s taken lots of getting used to.
2., Almost every ‘hard thing’ I did in the past came relatively easily, or I loved it so much and it was such a short commitment or the time of hardship was so short I didn’t really notice it. This WHOLE YEAR has been hard. I kept thinking it would get easier, but it wouldn’t. All uphill. But uphill, “further up and further in,” towards Him.
But with hardship there’s also grace – in being able through Christ to draw near to Him, in Him strengthening me, in knowing it’s not as bad as it could be, in knowing He’s always there and when at the end of the day I realize my weakness and His awesomeness and worship. It was His grace that allowed me to do as much as I did, and His grace that didn’t snuff out my smoldering wick or crush my bruised reed (Isaiah 42:3).
I’ve realized now that the days I struggled the most and had the most heartache were the days I took my eyes off of the big picture – living for His glory, and instead did it for myself or ‘to get it done.’ But life’s not worth it if it’s not for Him.
My cup is full. It’s full with joy and contentment Although some days I look back and think “What did I really get done? I don’t have a whole lot to show for this year. A couple quilts, a rattly piano that isn’t tuned half the time, a dress, some bags, pages of sheet music,” I know He’s taught me so much and worked mightily in me this past year, through sanctification and refinement. Yes, it was often painful. But He was always there, teaching me, filling my cup with Himself and Christ-likeness.
The main question I want to ask myself as I look back on it, is “How have I grown in my knowledge of God?” Because that’s what’s most important. How do I know Him better than I did a year ago? I’ll be pondering that a lot over the next few weeks, and how I can know Him better.

… that was this year. What about next year?
I’ve been realizing over the past few days, as I so easily over-schedule – and I can rush around and get it done, but often with much pain and fretting, and not resting in Christ and really spending time WITH Him and in meditation on His Word and in prayer like I should… There’s a lot I need to cut out. I was thinking about it one day and realized I need to cut myself out.

I’ll have things I want to get done during the year – though I’m not going to set school year goals anymore. It’s too confusing to have 3 different years going on, school year, age year, calendar year. Anyway. Cutting out. No ‘me time.’ Limited computer (only if I have time and drive to reply and write, not surf the Internet), spontaneous sewing and photography, scrapbooking only during movies, having things to do in spare moments so I don’t waste them.
I want a bigger vision, one that goes beyond “Well this year I’m doing this,” and that isn’t just being busy and productive at home and in the church until I get married and then just transferring that over to marriage. I mean a vision that I’d be perfectly happy fulfilling even if I’m not married 10 years from now or never get married.
I want to become proficient in tuning pianos, to the point where I could feel comfortable asking customers to pay by September 2012. A year later than I originally hoped for, which has taken getting used to because it means more time tuning next year than I wanted to put in. I want to spend more time with homeschool mothers, more time serving. I’m starting a reading list, so far it’s all theological, which I’m really looking forward to. Lord willing, I’ll be a member of our church soon, and that will bring other responsibilities. I want more time in prayer, with Him. I often pushed aside the pursuit of holiness for my lists. I’m fighting against that. Shorter lists may be needed. But for the fruit that results, it will be so worth it.
As I look back over the year again, I see how much of it was full of pressing on even when I wanted to quit. There were days I wanted to rest, but knew I shouldn’t/couldn’t (A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man). There were days I lost hope, forgetting to look heavenward and work for His glory and for the hope of His return (For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.)

… this has been a long post. Maybe I should have broken it up more. But I wanted it all together, as a sort of ‘year in review.’ I think it’s a good thing I didn’t know at the beginning of the year how hard it would be because I would’ve balked and ran. Because I underestimated Him. I never want to do that again. Because He is faithful and strong, no matter what.
And I am His.

Pro Christo – Further up and Further in!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials fof various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways…
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death..
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
{excerpts from James 1}

I love Daddy.

For many, many, reasons. This is just one of a billion and twenty of the little reasons.
And I thought it was fitting to post it on the day of my graduation party.
He wrote this about a year ago, as the really really long answer to why us girls aren’t going to college. People today will get the short version… this is the long one.  I’m so thankful he took the time to write this, and even more that he supports and promotes the vision of victorious daughterhood.
If you’d be more likely to read it if I chopped it up into shorter bits, tell me, I’m happy to do it…
But until then, here goes:

Why are we not raising our daughters to prepare for a career? Why do we not presume that they will go to university?
Our model is not a model from a particular past era, nor is it from a desire to be “old-fashioned”. Our passion is to honor (1) God’s design in creation, (2) the pattern exhibited throughout scripture, and which is faithful to (3) teaching under both covenants.

(1) God’s Design in Creation

Genesis 1-3
• Genesis 1:26-28; Man was created in the image of God to reflect God’s glory and attributes [rule and subdue; name animals; work the garden; with intelligence and reason; capacities for communication, relationship with God, and moral choice as a righteous creature]
• “Man/Adam”: was created as Male and Female: God distinguishes between male and female; our maleness and femaleness is reflected biologically and is much deeper than biology, but is not contrary to biology.
• God differentiates between male and female in their purpose
o God’s calling is to “Man” = Adam (fruitful, multiply, fill and subdue the earth); God specifically puts Adam in the garden to work it. Genesis 2:7, 8, 15
o It was not good for man to be alone; Adam cannot fulfil his calling to be fruitful and multiply (in order to fill the earth, subdue it and have dominion over it) Genesis 2:18-20. He needs a suitable helper: the woman.
o The woman is made for the man (Genesis 2:18, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:9); made after the man (Genesis 2:21-22; 1 Tim 2:13); made from the man (Genesis 2:21-22; 1 Corinthians 11:8); brought to the man (Genesis 2:22); named by the man (Genesis 2:23), as a derivative of ‘man’; She is “Ishah” taken from “Ish”. God named her Eve (Genesis 3:20). The English woman/man linguistic connection is analogous.
• The judgments of the Fall are role-related: for the woman, pain in child-bearing (Genesis 3:16) directly affecting her role in bearing children to Adam to obey the “Cultural Mandate” to be fruitful and multiply; and for the man, frustration and futility in the toil of working the ground (Genesis 3:17-19), reducing the effectiveness of his dominion over the earth;
• The affect of the Fall on marriage is role-related, and a reversal of the intent: your desire will be for him [to usurp headship] and he will rule over you [to abuse headship] (3:16; see 4:6 for understanding the terms “desire” and “rule”)
• The woman ate first, but Adam, not Eve, is held ultimately accountable in the rest of Scripture due to the headship of the husband. Headship is not right to tyranny, but the shouldering of accountability to God. (Genesis 3:9, 17; Romans 5:12, 14; 1 Corinthians 15:22)

(2) The Biblical Pattern

The rest of the Bible assumes and implies leadership of the husband/father in the home, male elders in society, and male elders/pastors in the church. Women play a very significant role in the unfolding of God’s revelation, but it is almost always as wife or daughter in relation to her husband or father. The mention of Deborah as a counter-example misses that even she saw her anticipated victory as out of place and that it would bring shame to Barak, who should have led Israel into battle (Judges 4:9).

What about Gal 3:28 (“in Christ there is neither male nor female”)? This passage speaks clearly of our spiritual equality in approaching God in Christ. We are Equal before God in value and dignity. We are also differentiated in role and purpose.

God did not pick patriarchal marriage, among other options, to use as an image of the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33; John 3:29; Revelation 18:23; 19:7; 21:2, 9; 22:17). Rather, the Father redeemed the bride of his Son before the foundation of the world, and created marriage, the union of a man and a wife to picture this. Even the Old Testament makes extensive use of marriage to describe YHWH’s commitment to his chosen people, and adultery to describe her unfaithfulness to him (see Hosea and other prophets)

(3) Biblical instruction for women:

• A Woman is generally oriented toward her husband, children and home (Proverbs 31; Ephesians 5:22-24, 33; 1 Peter 3:1-6; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; 5:9-16; Titus 2:3-5).
• Is it demeaning for a woman to have her identity and role derived from man, particularly her covenant husband? John 14:16 The Holy Spirit is called the counsellor, comforter, friend, or helper, who brings glory to Christ, with no loss of dignity. Remember that this marriage relationship is to picture something glorious! The Holy Spirit does not play a demeaning role as one who helps.
• She is to have a gentle and quiet spirit toward her husband, with inward, God-fearing adornment, (Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:3)
• Commands:
o Submit to her husband as to the Lord [as to her relationship to her husband] (Ephesians 5:22, 24; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:5, 6); The Church’s submission to Christ is imperfect, though her Lord is perfect. Unfortunately, no husband is perfect: and it is this imperfection that God uses for her sanctification!
o Respect her husband (Ephesians 5:33);
o Love her husband (Titus 2:4)
o Learn from her husband (1 Timothy 2:11; 1 Corinthians 14:35)
o Bear children [as to her mission] (1 Timothy 2:15; 5:10, 14; Titus 2:4)
o Manager/Keeper of the home (1 Timothy 5:14; Titus 2:5) (see What He Must Be pages 131-137 for discussion of ‘balance’ and ‘exceptions’; and Faith Bible Church statement for Scriptural discussion). “In due time her industry will take her outside the home (Proverbs 31:10-31)”
o Hospitality, good works and service (1 Timothy 5:10; Luke 8:1-2; Acts 9:36-42; 16:14-15; Proverbs 31:20)
o Avoid nagging and arguing (Proverbs 19:13; 27:15-16)
• Such a woman is fruitful, fulfilled and productive; not a consumer who spends money in malls for recreation, gossips with neighbors (1 Timothy 5:13), and eats bonbons while her servants do all of the work in her home. Rather, the husband and children of this woman rise up and publicly praise and bless her (Proverbs 31).

Where happened to the design of creation, the biblical pattern, and the biblical instructions regarding female identity and role in our society? Have we simply overturned “tradition” or have we lost something more?

The biblical design was reflected in the societal structures in many, if not most, cultures on the planet for millennia. It is very easy for any sound biblical practice to be separated from Scripture and become an independent “tradition”. When a tradition is enculturated the emphasis becomes on the structure of the practice, rather than the reason for it. Enculturation can be good when biblical practices are properly applied and effectively mirror the gospel, with clear teaching given to the next generation as to how the structure and teaching are related. However, when divorced from Scripture’s teaching on design and God’s vision for the structures or relations, the structures are exploited and abused. As a result, the biblical vision for fatherhood reflecting the fatherhood of God, for marriage reflecting the relationship between Christ and the church, and a vision for a godly heritage of future generations are all lost. Divorced from the Gospel, marriage and family are no longer safe and secure for its members. History has demonstrated that it is possible to have biblical structures without the biblical identity they are designed to reflect. The structure itself is by design the means for propagation of society. As societies reject the structures, we can expect their self-destruction or collapse.

The new patterns of thinking that developed during the Renaissance, Scientific Revolution, Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, led to welcome critical thinking about the abuse of authority taking place in traditional structures (whether government, employment, or family). Kings abused biblical authority by not recognizing that as servants of God they were also accountable to God (Romans 13: 1-7; Luke 3:12-14). Employers exploited workers needs (Ephesians 6:9; Luke 3:14; James 5:1-6), and had no compassion for oppressive working and living conditions. Fathers and husbands no longer lived sacrificially to lead, protect and provide for their families, but they selfishly abused their authority as heads of the family, reflecting neither the fatherhood of God toward their children, nor the love of Christ for his church toward their wives (Ephesians 3:14; 5:25-33). Although the structures had the form of biblical teaching, the biblical instruction no longer informed them, and so they had become a stench.

Unfortunately, ‘Enlightened’ societies rejected not only the abuse of the structures, but also the structures themselves, particularly in the case of the family. The rise of Scientism and Darwinism was an additional factor in the rejection of Scripture as an authoritative basis for societal structures. Disregarding God’s differentiation between male and female by design at creation, and recognizing only a biological distinction between men and women, western societies have concluded that there no longer remain gender-specific roles. While acknowledging that only the female body can produce ova and gestate human babies, the sexual revolution, abortion on demand, social acceptance of unwed pregnancy, redefinition of the family and reproductive technologies like sperm and ova banks and in vitro fertilization together render the family superfluous. Sadly, many Christians have adopted some of these attitudes and values from the values of the wider society, even if subconsciously.

Advancements in technology and services which have replaced home industry have led to shifting attitudes toward the value of women at home. These include mechanized farming, industrialized production of clothing and other goods, household appliances (like the washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, oven, microwave, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, and food processor), prepared foods and abundant restaurants, convenient transportation and shopping centers. The prevailing attitude is that the only option to a career is idleness and gossip! Keepers at home may feel inferior and unproductive, as well as un-affirmed in society and even their families. Homeschooling has certainly restored a sense of value and significant contribution mothers make to their families and future generations in many homes. We must also restore the biblical value of service to the church and community. We can thank God for technological advancements and use the extra time to be more fruitful, rather than presume we should then pursue a career!

The loss of fruitfulness of women and other negative economic and social effects have accompanied careerism. Although earning incomes and contributing to a nation’s GDP, women have lost fruitfulness through careerism due to: smaller families with less influence on society, less parental influence on their own children, less hospitality and community in the church, less discipleship of younger women by older women, and less service to the needy, sick, hungry, orphaned, or imprisoned among the body of Christ. The economic impact of dual incomes has led to a reduction in jobs enabling men to provide for their families, a dramatic inflation of housing prices (which forces many to believe that the wife must work to have a home), an increase in consumerism, and a sense of entitlement to travel and leisure activities which rob believers of time for hospitality, service, discipleship, and community. The latter can certainly occur with single-income families, but the additional income has enabled more families to be distracted by these activities, and the desire for them has led many women into the workforce to fund them.

“So are your parents going to arrange your marriage, too?”
We’re not promoting arranged marriages, but rather agreed marriage. Parents play a role in establishing the next generation through guiding their children in the selection of a spouse. “A son is reared up for independence. He is trained to leave, while still respecting his parents’ godly counsel. A daughter is brought up to be transferred from one state of dependence to another. Sons leave, daughters are given.” (Jer 29:6; Lk 20:34; Mt 24:38)
• The general pattern in Scripture is that a daughter is in her father’s house under his authority until she is given in marriage to another man, who then becomes her head and protector. Hence a widow is considered vulnerable to oppressors because she has no father/husband.
• The father in Israel had authority to overrule, or is otherwise accountable for, vows and agreements made by his daughter, “in her youth in her father’s house.” (Num 30:3-16)
• The father in Israel was accountable to guarantee the virginity of his daughter. A girl’s sexual involvement before marriage was considered “to play the harlot in her father’s house.” (Deuteronomy 22:13-21) “Virginity was a priceless inheritance for the young woman to bring into the marriage.” If she was not a virgin, for the father to indicate otherwise was fraud.
• The father in Israel had authority to refuse his daughter’s marriage to a man even if they had already lain together (Exodus 22:16-17), though the man was still required to pay the bride-price.
• Divorced and widowed women are independent from their fathers (Num 3:9; Acts 16:15; 1 Cor 7:39) though permitted to return to her father’s house (Lev 22:13)
Pre-marriage relationships are outside the scope of this paper, but suffice to say that we are not fans of modern recreational dating.

What about the girl who does not want to get married?
If someone has no desire for marriage, no desire for children, no desire for sex, maybe one has gift of celibacy. If they don’t have this gift, we should actively encourage marriage! This active encouragement is not meddling!

If a girl does not have this gift, must she stay at home?
The Lord can certainly raise up exceptions, for particular callings of ministry and service. A period of time at home training for the “norm” will never be wasted, equipping a girl for managing a home, hospitality, ministry, and industry, enabling her to be productive wherever she goes.

Considerations for sending Children to College:

Many presume college is necessary because of assumptions like:
• Studies claim that a degree is a guarantee of greater wealth. It is true that many professions require a degree or post-baccalaureate education, but a degree by itself is becoming “a dime a dozen”. Beyond academic learning, there are many other means of gaining learning, such as work experience, travel, service, apprenticeship, the military, pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities and vocational training. Creative, “outside-the-box” training and experience can provide an advantage to a 4 year degree.
• You can only get an education at a university. Our modern society sees high school as preparation for learning in university, or simply a time for teens to have fun and socialize until they become adults. Young people have an amazing capacity to learn, and this period can be more effectively used so that much university level education is accomplished during high school years instead of merely doing preparatory studies, many of which will be repeated later. The proliferation of internet studies and distance learning, as well as the availability of CLEP-type testing to gain college credit through exams, all provide alternative means of obtaining a “degree” at more affordable costs.
• Many of us “grew up” and matured at college, socially and/or spiritually. While this is true, we also grew up in a society which did not expect us to grow up while teenagers, as past societies did. While we may have matured in this context, attending university is no guarantee of growing up, nor of spiritual growth. Many do get used to independence while at university but also use their independence to walk in irresponsible or profligate ways, not in maturity. The majority of even churched kids increase their distance from the church while at university, rather than growing spiritually. It is quite reasonable for parents to structure home life during the teen years so that their children can develop and mature into adults socially, mentally and spiritually. Such a home life will be counter-cultural to modern norms, but will reflect what was normal for millennia. We should interpret our personal experiences in light of God’s wisdom.

What is the motivation for going to college?
• Everyone else does?
• Old enough?
• For financial gain?
• To get away from parents?
• To pursue independence?

There are more important considerations. What is the child’s personality, and what are their skills and interests? What is the child’s calling? What is the best way to become equipped for this calling? Does the youth have a clear purpose? Many youth are not sober minded about spending their parents’ savings on college. It is poor stewardship to send a child to college to “find himself” or when he or she has no idea what they want to study or why.
Does the child have the academic aptitude for further studies and at what level? Just because they are accepted at a college or university does not mean that is the best place for them.
Would it be better to attend vocational training?
Does the youth have the maturity to handle life at college? Just because they are legally old enough is not sufficient reason to send an ill-equipped child into an environment that has an anti-god worldview in class and among peers (many of whom are in pursuit of inebriation and debauchery).

Consider the alternatives of:

• … on-line education. The child can continue to live and serve at home and church, the expenses are far less, the worldview can be more consistent, and the studies possibly more flexibly selected to suit the child’s interests.
• … taking opportunities for mentorship, assisting a missionary family or widow in home schooling, or some other kind of service (orphanage, Mercy Ships, disaster relief). Especially for a young man, seek out difficult physical labor (helping someone on a farm).
• … taking a year to do a variety of kinds of work as well as doing career and life planning/testing to get an idea of aptitudes and interests.

If the child is a girl, is she ready for marriage?
That is, is she equipped with the skills to be a homemaker so that if she meets her husband at school, she will be ready to assume her life-duties and be a blessing to her husband?
Is she going to school for a career? Consider the costs involved and the biblical teaching on calling and vocation for women. According to biblical design and the normative pattern, God has most probably made her to be a helper for her husband and to bear children for a godly heritage. Is it worth spending 4+ years and large sums of money while incurring excessive debts for this just so she can have pride and say she has been to college when people ask? Do we have such a low view of the biblical emphasis on womanhood that we must make up for it with education? Pride may not be a predominant reason, but calling and vision should be the predominant factors in a decision involving such a commitment of time and money, and level of exposure to risks that exist in the university setting (to the child’s worldview and morals through their peers and professors).

This is something daddy tacked onto the end of the article:

The High Calling of Christian Women

(statement by Elders of Faith Bible Church, Spokane, WA, USA)
Trans-cultural Biblical Principles
1. A woman’s primary role is in the home. The Scriptures would indicate that a woman’s responsibilities must revolve around the priority of her investment in the home (1 Tim. 3:15; 5:14; Titus 2:5).
2. The wife and mother in the home has the responsibility to make sure that all of the details of the home run smoothly. This all encompassing responsibility is done under her husband’s authority, yet she in a very real sense administrates or manages the home (1 Tim. 5:14).
3. The biblical issue is really not whether or not a woman works outside the home-this is an artificial standard. There are women who do not work outside the home, yet still do not fulfil what the Scriptures expect of them as a wife and mother (1 Tim. 5:13).
4. It is appropriate for a Christian woman to have entrepreneurial interests outside the immediate home which help support the home monetarily. In any of these though, it is evident that these outside involvements revolve around her priority of the home, rather than vice versa (Prov. 31).
5. As a woman matures and her home responsibilities with children lessen, there could be more opportunities for outside involvement (1 Tim. 5:14; Titus 2:3-5).
6. The Scriptures indicate that a woman is called to submit to her husband. Any involvement outside the home must not compromise in any way her submission and responsibility to her husband (Eph. 5:22).
7. Godly women are also called by God to serve others that are outside their family. They are to minister and serve unbelievers as well as believers
(1 Tim. 5:10) Just like any believer they must minister their spiritual gift in the church body in some way (not necessarily an official church ministry).
8. Older women in the church have the key role in mentoring younger women to fulfil their God given responsibilities. This would imply that many young women would not naturally fulfil what the Scriptures expect of them and that they need to be mentored into these critical roles (Titus 2:3-5)
Factors Affecting Application of Biblical Principles
1. Careerism today can make it difficult for a woman to have a job that flexes around the needs of the home.
2. If used wisely, modern conveniences in the home could allow a woman more time to focus on other issues with the family.
3. Computers, modems, faxes and other technology could make it possible for a woman to have a job that allowed her to stay at home.
4. The current trend toward “flex-time” in certain aspects of the workplace could allow for situations where a woman’s outside work could adjust around the needs of the home.


Do you know who Horace Mann was?
He was an ‘education reformer’ in the 60’s. He wanted to implement radical education reform in the public schools. Sounds good, right?

Well, here’s another question: do you know the 10 points of the Communist manifesto?
They are:
1. The abolition of property
2. Progressive taxes
3. The Abolition of inheritance
4. Confiscation of rights of aliens
5. State control of banking and trade
6. State control of transport
7. State control of money
8. State control of labor
9. Corporate farming
10. State control of schools.

Now, here are Mann’s ten points for the reform of the school system:
1. Equitability (to achieve this would mean redistribution of wealth)
2. Progressive responsibility (which would lead to more taxes)
3. Generational egalitarianism (which would have each generation start with a clean slate – no inheritance)
4. Universal protection
5. Equitably organized (regulated by one thing – the state)
6. Equal expression/travel (again, to be ‘equal’ it would work best to be regulated by one thing – the state)
7. Central fiscal exchange (state control of money)
8. Organized justice in labor (state control of labor)
9. Distribution of resources (to lead to things like corporate farming)
10. Universal education (state control of schools)

There’s a striking resemblance, and Dr. Grant, who I got this information from in a Gileskirk history lecture, says that this was no accident.

The aim was to level the access to everyone.
But it was the right thing in the wrong way and, as usual, resulted in disaster.
Now, education no longer a part of ‘schooling.’ Rather, if has become social(ism)ization!

So why am I not in a public school?
Because my parents determined to give me an education, and teach me how to think, rather than put me in the government-controlled Marxist school system to learn socialism (and for many other reasons as well).
Here are some good articles on Christian education. There are more on my articles page, under education.
And read Deuteronomy and Ephesians 6. 🙂

– Kyleigh


I know, I know – my blog has been severely neglected. But I’ve been so busy that I just haven’t had time. The last 2 posts were scheduled, and so is the next one. I think this will be the only post in February that’s not… but in between finishing quilts, hand-quilting, baking, reading, the pursuit of God, music, teaching piano, Church, planning… there just hasn’t been the time. I shall probably start having dreams about quilting soon – with lots of babies on the way at Church, Hannah and I have been working on lots and lots of baby quilts (alright, it’s 3. But it feels like so much more!). I hope to have pictures up next month. Saturday Hannah and Joel came over and we watched Wives and Daughters with Cait while the 3 of us girls quilted (Candace was on another couch quilting another quilt…). Tuesday Joel’s mom and sister come in from the states (speaking of Joel, I never linked over to Cait’s post a while ago. I meant to, I really did – so here it is now.)

It just seems that life keeps getting busier and busier. I like this kind of busy, though – lots to do but much of it is relaxing, like quilting. I keep wanting to push aside schoolwork to get all of the other things (like writing the music for the song that appears in Faith Victorious).  Because, seriously – who wants to study anatomy when you want to be quilting and composing? (Just kidding. I love anatomy and physiology – most of the time).
I did really enjoy today, though. I finished most of my schoolwork before breakfast (we eat at 9, I get up at 7 – and it was almost all reading today). Then after breakfast I reviewed WWII with daddy, then practiced oboe and worked through two lessons of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Principles of Orchestration. After lunch I accompanied Cait when she practiced voice, and we recorded “The Minstrel Boy.” I threw the laundry in the washing machine and went upstairs to pray and read, after which I watched this video while quilting (like I said, I’m going to be having dreams about quilting soon).  Tonight I have Well Group, followed by sleep – and I am so tired!
But although I’ve enjoyed it all, the highlight today was spending an hour on the couch with daddy studying something we both love – history. As I think about World War II and the ideologies that started it, the unfinished business of World War I, the sinfulness of the world… alongside reading through II Kings, I am more and more astounded at the greatness of God. The more I study history, the more I am convinced that it is the story of God raising up and tearing down nations for His glory.
I also realize how important it is to study history the way daddy has taught us to study it. We don’t get caught up in dates and dead people (this is the first time this year I’ve had to remember dates). We don’t really study the actual battles – but we do study the ideologies that caused the battles, the worldviews that each era lived by… we read primary source documents and look at both sides.
But over the past few months the thing that has been most encouraging for me is remembering that God controls it all. The history of the world is in His hands, and He controls it for His glory, which, I, as His child, should be what I desire most.

Therefore we shall not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea… Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
_Psalm 42_

– Kyleigh