Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Courageous 3.... The Resolution for Women

Ok, I am back. A wonderful break that apparently involved no blogging LOL! The break was wonderful but so very busy. For those who don’t know, the area I live in holds ‘Canada’s Largest Irish Festival’ for St. Patrick’s day and I am involved in the service club that puts it on. Needless to say I am exhausted. Cameron was sick on Thursday night…so sick that we thought he stopped breathing… but maybe I was just so exhausted that I dreamed it. He has pneumonia and a bacterial infection but doesn’t seem to have been slowed by this…I wish I could have a bit of that child’s energy!!!
So anyway, back to my blog posts on the movie Courageous. As I wrote about last time, these men drew up a contract of sorts with the promises they made regarding their role in their family. I would love to see every parent see this movie and every father take on this resolution. And as I said last time, I think it applies so much to women too…there is so much that all parents can take from this resolution.
In my research into this movie I came across a resolution for women too. It was written in response to the movie, as a way to bring women to the table so to speak…to have a way for women to be accountable for their role in a family. Today I want to take a look at it and comment on it.

The Resolution for Women
I do solemnly resolve to embrace my current season of life and will maximize my time in it. I will resist the urge to hurry through or circumvent any portion of my journey but will love with a spirit of contentment.
I will champion God’s model for womanhood in the face of a post feminist culture. I will teach it to my daughters and encourage its support by my sons.
I will accept and celebrate my uniqueness, and will esteem and encourage the distinctions I admire in others.
I will live as a woman answerable to God and faithfully committed to His Word.
I will seek to devote the best of myself, my time, and my talents to the primary roles the Lord has entrusted to me in this phase of my life.
I will be a woman who is quick to listen and slow to speak. I will care about the concerns of others and esteem them more highly than myself.
I will forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
I will not tolerate evil influences even in the most justifiable form, in myself or my home, but will embrace and encourage a life of purity.
I will be faithful to my husband and honor him in my conduct and conversation in order to bring glory to the name of the Lord. I will aspire to be a suitable partner for him to help him reach his God-given potential.
I will demonstrate to my children how to love God with all their hearts, minds, and strength, and will train them to respect authority and live responsibly.
I will cultivate a peaceful home where everyone can sense God’s presence not only through acts of love and service but also through the pleasant and grateful attitude with which I perform them.
I fully resolve to make today’s decisions with tomorrow’s impact in mind. I will consider my current choices in light of those who will come after me.

Wow…that is a lot to take on. So much of that does not come easily or naturally to me, to most women. We have become a culture of independent women, women who lead the household, who make the decisions, who control the day to day life, do most to all the parenting/discipline, control the finances, speak their mind and not tolerate anyone who disrespects us and maybe I’d go as bold as to say, who questions us.
It is so very hard to realize that this is NOT what God wanted. More than realizing, it is so hard to break the habits that the feminism era has brought to us. Now I am not saying that all the changes that were made were negative. By no means. Nowhere in the bible does it say that husbands can disrespect their wives, control with an iron fist and make each and every decision. What it does say is this….
Ephesians 5:22-33 (NIV)
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Pretty heavy stuff in a way…surely something that would get the feminist more than a bit hot under the collar. But that is because they don’t understand what Paul was really saying. They take it literally, that women are to be submissive. But that isn’t really what Paul’s intent was. Instead he was giving a directive for a voluntary yielding in love on the part of the wife. Nowhere does it say that the husbands are to control their wives. Instead it instructs the wives to take submission into their own hands. This does not deny the husband and wife's essential equality before God, which Paul mentions in Galatians 3:28, where he declares, "There is neither ... male nor female, for all are one in Christ."
Since both men and women share equality before God then why do women need to submit to their husbands? Paul tells us that wives submit to husbands as the head of the household just as Christ is the head of the church. We don’t question that we need to submit to the head of the church and thus by following this teaching, wives are doing this as an act of obedience to the Lord… by submitting to our husbands we are showing reverence for the one they submit to…the Lord.
And this submission doesn’t mean we don’t’ stand up for what we believe in, it doesn’t mean that men are always right, that we have to believe all they say to be true. What it does mean is that ultimately it needs to be the husband who leads the family. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church" (verse 25) does not mean husbands, "Be the head over your wife." Rather Paul tells them to love their wives. Paul says three simple things about this love. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (verses 25-27), as his own body (28-30), and with a passion transcending all other commitments (31-33).

The author of one site I read put Paul’s direction…his urging to the husband to set the tone of spiritual leadership in the home in a way that made it so much clearer...
At the heart of mature masculinity is a sense of benevolent responsibility to lead, provide for, and protect women in ways appropriate to a man's differing relationships."4 A husband needs to assume a certain responsibility for the spiritual growth of his wife. In order to do that, though, husbands must "give themselves" for their wives (verse 25) by laying aside many of their own personal desires and conveniences in order to fulfill a higher and prior call.

Now back to the resolution. There is a lot of pretty ‘big’ stuff in there. I know there are a great many things that I fall short on but then again, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23(NIV). I know that my views on what is ‘an evil influence’ has greatly changed in the last few months. It’s hard to break old habits, hard not to read and watch things that captivated me before but were an influence that was not one that I need or want in my life. I know that I do not always use my time wisely and in a way that is honoring to the roles that God has for me. I chose my own needs over others at times, I put myself ahead of my husband often and sometimes I put myself ahead of my kids or others in my life…others who God is trying to get me to use my talents to help and to serve. That isn’t to say that God wants us to never have time for ourselves because that is not his attention. The time we have for ourselves can, and should be, used wisely and in a way that further serves the Lord. Taking time for yourself to walk, to meditate, to pray, to think and to find a sense of peace are all ways that we can bring ourselves to a better place where we can be in the role of the woman God calls us to be. Being slow to speak, honouring my husband in my conduct and conversation (especially those about or with him around others…when I am angry or annoyed) and bringing a sense of peace to my home are areas that need an intense amount of focus. I am falling short here and I need to gather myself together and find a way to right my ways.
But all in all I think I am working hard to ‘resolve’ areas in my life so that I am the woman God wants me to be. It’s a resolution that will be an on going project but a project that moves forward.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Courageous 2

I have just found so many things that have inspired in me in this movie (click here to see a trailer).
It’s like watching parts of my life and wondering how I’ll do, how I will make out the journey of parenthood. As I said yesterday, I’ve made so many mistakes and I can’t take them back. Some days I wonder if the changes I want to make will ever actually happen , ever actually take effect. I know that I, no we, have improved…greatly. But it seems like such a long journey. And the fact is, it is a long journey, a long, hard journey. No one said life would be easy, the bible tells us...
1 Peter 4:12-13
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
Acts 14:22
"We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God."
The book of Job is filled with an account of how life is not easy for a Christian. Through it all we can learn that we must keep going, keep trying, be persistent an d persevere and ours will be the Kingdom of Heaven. And so I won’t give up and I promise I will get better!
Courageous has inspired me to do this… to take parenting seriously and to take it on courageously. Adam Mitchell, the main character , knew this and he sat down his group of male friends and told them…
“I don't feel like I've started well, but I want to finish well. What I want for you is that you seek the Lord. That you trust Him, even if it means you’re standing alone."
And with that (and a few other things…I mean it is a movie, it’s gotta have a plot!!!) Adam presented them with a piece of paper simply titled
The Resolution
I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.
I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.
I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.
I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.
I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.
I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.
WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God. I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will. I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. —Joshua 24:15

I think this is just the most amazing code to live by and watching these men discuss it, prepare to take this oath together, dress in their finest, bring their families to witness it and read this resolution out loud to a preacher, to their families, to each other and most importantly, to God was so very moving. But more than that, it was so very inspiring. The most inspiring thing is that it is totally biblically based…God really told men to live this way. The men in Courageous printed this up and put it in a frame and placed it on the wall of their homes as a reminder of the code they needed to live by, of the promise they made to live by that code.
It’s a lot to live up I think. And from what I’ve learned, once you commit to something like this, once you make a commitment to Christ, life doesn’t necessarily get easier. Often it gets harder. Because if God wants you to be a part of His family, to walk the path He intended for you, you can well imagine that another powerful force will want to undo that, will want you to follow the ways of the world, the ways that aren’t of Christ. The devil wants us just as much as God does….he just has manipulative ways of trying to get us there.
But I am committed, I am trying, I am dedicated and I know it won’t be easy. But I will do this and I won’t be easily swayed….
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. —Joshua 24:15

Stay tuned for the The Resolution for women.... hopefully March Break doesn't interupt my posting schedule too much!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Courageous - Post 1

I recently took my two older sons to see the movie Courageous. I’ve seen it before and I think I cried more this time, was affected much more deeply this time, then when I saw it in October. I also know, for a fact, that I have changed the way I look at my family and at my husband since then, I know for a fact that I am a different person, a person much further in their journey with Christ since I first saw this movie.
I’ve decided that I want to write a series of blog posts on this movie and the way that it has impacted me as a mom, as a wife and as a Christian. First of all though, a brief overview of the movie….
Honor Begins at Home
Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.
While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they're quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.
When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God ... and to their children?
Filled with action-packed police drama, COURAGEOUS is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Viewers will once again find themselves laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children.
Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That will take courage. Courageous ... honor begins at home

The tragedy they mention above is that Adam Mitchell’s daughter, Emily, is killed by a drunk driver. It has, understandably, a huge impact on his family, his view of the world, his journey with Christ. I have much to say about this part of the movie but that will come at another time.
After Adam losses his daughter he begins to realize that he is not who he wants to be, that he falls short of the glory of God (as we all do) most noticeably in the area of fatherhood. And so begins his quest to change, to better himself, to be the father that the Lord wants him to be because…

Adam Mitchell: "I don't want to be a good enough father. We have a few short years to influence our kids. Whatever patterns we set for them in life will be used for their kids, and the generation after that. We have the responsibility to mold a life. And I don't think that should be done casually. Half the fathers in this country are already failing, and I don't want to be one of them. I'm talking about setting the standards that they need to aim for in life"

I think we, those who have kids, especially young kids, need to think hard about this. Are we setting patterns that we don’t want to see repeated. I know I am, I know I hate the things that come out of my mouth at times, hate the lack of patience I have at times. I have been trying to change this for so long but it is so hard to break habits and that is just the lamest excuse EVER!!! I am not using it as an excuse though, I am saying it as it is. I have wanted to change and I have been determined to change. So what went wrong??? Well I didn’t turn to God to help. I didn’t really know I should earlier and then once I did know I just, well, I just didn’t know how.
The first place I looked was the instructional manual for life and I found this…
Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.
Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

So much to learn on discipline … but how to apply it… how to bring that in to effect is what I am unclear about. I know the reasons for discipline, I see those reasons every day at work with kids who so obviously run the show at home. And when I think about how to teach them, how to instill the skills they need and the characteristics that I want them to have, I realize that the bible is the best teacher. Just reading to them the stories of so many in the bible who didn’t follow the ways of the Lord and what happened to them. Reading them the parables that Jesus used to teach so many amazing lessons on human character. But more than just reading it, I need to live it. I need to set the example and be the role model. And I need to be a positive influence, not nag them to death, not drive them away by controlling their every move, by not giving them any choices but by allowing them to grow in a loving, nurturing, supportive environment.

Deuteronomy 4:9-10 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.
Proverbs 15:10 Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates correction will die.

Something I find in my house that we do too often is to either wait too long to follow through with discipline…therefore causing confusion and misunderstanding…

Ecclesiastes 8:11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.

Or we over react…therefore again causing confusion and misunderstanding….

2 Corinthians 2:6-8 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

I know that often it would be so much more affective to not say much at all to my kids when they are acting out but rather to express my disappointment in them…KISS…keep it simple stupid. Unfortunately I think stupid , or atleast stupid mouth, could be my middle name. Learning to stop talking, to say as little as possible, is very hard for me. Learning to be patient and calm…also hard. I think I am repeating what I’ve witnessed so much over the years and breaking that cycle is hard. Learning as an adult seems to be one of the greatest challenges we can give ourselves. And I know that in my weak moments, in my frustrating moments, in my dark moments of parenting I think that it’s just too late, that I am too far gone and that my kids are too far gone. But they aren’t! I am not…I just need to slow down, breath, think and most of all PRAY!
Adam Mitchell said it best… : "I don't feel like I've started well, but I want to finish well. What I want for you is that you seek the Lord. That you trust Him, even if it means your standing alone."

And thankfully I am not standing alone…I have a wonderful husband who wishes the same thing and an amazing community of friends, especially those from church, who are willing to stand beside me and help me along the way.
Changing takes courage..it is always easier to take the easy way out and keep things as status quo but I know that God will walk beside me and I him…it’s not too late. I may not have started well, but it’s not too late.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9