Judges 6 & 7: Ready, Set…GO!

Well, well, well.

I had the luxury of resting the vast majority of the day, and I am still exhausted, weak and in pain.

I am tired of being tired, I tell you.

I’m going to get right into Judges before I go off on another tangent and end up with a one million word post though🙂

I have also realized that as much as I would like I am probably not going to have the time to do five chapters regularly on here. I’m still going to try, but more than likely there will be one or two.

We left off on Judges Chapter Five, with Deborah leading a victory song. After Deborah judges the nation, enter Gideon in Chapter Six.

Let me back up a tad. As you already know, the Israelites have established a national pattern on godly living under a judge, sin, oppression as a result of the sin, repentance, and deliverance via a God-appointed judge. Before we get to Gideon, they are in the sin phase, which results in them being turned over to the Midianites for seven years. The Midianite oppression was exceptionally cruel. The Israelites apparently were run off their land, because the Bible records them as having to hide out in mountains, caves and strongholds (v. 2). The Midianites also starved the Israelites. Each time the Israelites planted crops, their oppressors would destroy them, and they would take their sheep, cattle and donkeys. Basically the Midianites ruined the very livelihood of Israel.

When the people cry out to the Lord for help, he sends them an unnamed prophet who, per the formula, reminds the people of their wrongdoing–specifically, their sin of idol worship. After this encounter, THE angel of the Lord (I believe to be Jesus) comes to Gideon, son of Joash.

It is interesting to see what Gideon is doing when he receives his call. He is “threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites” (v. 11). Basically, he is taking part in a process to produce foodstuffs in private, lest the Midianites come and destroy or take it. How the mighty nation of Israel has fallen.

The angel informs Gideon that the Lord is with him, but Gideon is ignorantly hesitant. I say ignorant because of his following comment: If I may paraphrase, he asks, and I assume with some attitude, “if the Lord has been with us, then why has all this been allowed to happen? Whatever happened to all of those miracles our ancestors told us about?” (v. 13).

I can’t even blame Gideon for his ignorance. As previous Scriptures have told us, the generation that came before Gideon had NOT educated their children as to the goodness of the Lord. True education has to include the fact that disobedience brings about consequences. Yes, the Lord has always been capable of performing miracles and did so for the Israelites all throughout their history, but there is something Gideon was not understanding. Even now, people feel that God owes them something, that He is supposed to just bless and bless and protect and bless some more despite man’s evil ways. It doesn’t work like that. There has to be obedience.

As I often do, I think of the relationship between us and God as a parent-child relationship to the nth degree. As parents, we reward our children for their obedience. Even if it is not with material rewards, they might be rewarded with other privileges. But what we don’t do, or should never do, is to encourage disobedience by rewarding it, diminishing it, or turning a blind eye. If we know our child is doing something wrong, we don’t play into it, right? That would mean we are condoning it. For example, my son has a phone now. I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of him having one, to be honest. My husband and I have already informed him that he is not allowed to put a passcode on the phone and that we will be looking through it whenever we feel the need to in order to see what he is doing. He claims he wanted the phone so he could text his little friends, which he typically does from my phone. I had reviewed several of his conversations and they were about innocent little ten-year-old boy stuff… movies, school, etc. But let me find out he is sending or receiving inappropriate pictures, for example. The phone will go bye-bye. I’m not going to upgrade his phone to a model with a better camera, right?

We do these things for our kids because we know best. God does what he does because as creator and sustainer of this world, he knows best. He knows when to pull his hand, and he had to do so many times with stubborn Israel, as he has to do with stubborn Christians even today. Same song and dance, different times.

Interestingly enough, the next passage says this:

“Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (v. 14).

See that?

The Bible would not have referred to a mere angel as the Lord. This is, again, why I believe when the Bible refers to THE angel of the Lord, it is a reference to pre-incarnate Jesus.

Gideon is not finished questioning the angel. He belongs to the weakest clan in Manasseh, but I wonder, on what grounds are they considered weak? Is the weakness due to them being split (we often see references made to the “half-tribe of Manasseh”). Or is it because they failed to clear the Canaanites from their land? Regardless of the reasoning, Gideon doesn’t understand that the strength will to accomplish the goal of removing Israel from Midianite oppression will come from God. Gideon asks for a sign to prove that the angel is really of the Lord. He goes home and prepares an offering for the Lord, a goat and bread made without yeast:

“The angel of God said to him, “Place the meat and the unleavened bread on this rock, and pour the broth over it.” And Gideon did as he was told.  Then the angel of the lord touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of the lord disappeared” (vv.20-21).

This is proof to Gideon that this angel truly has been sent by God. He is afraid, because the understanding was if one saw the face of God they would die. The Lord calms Gideon’s fears, and Gideon builds an altar there. However, as we will soon see, this does not end Gideon’s doubt.

That evening, the Lord gives Gideon his first task. He is to take a seven-year-old bull from his father’s flock, prepare it as a sacrifice, and tear down the altar to Baal and Asherah pole that is Joash’s. Then Gideon is to build a proper altar to God and sacrifice the bull, using the wood from the Asherah pole to fuel the sacrificial fire.

The Bible says that Gideon did as he was told, but he took ten of his servants. I know this might be totally insignificant, and we shouldn’t insert words in the Bible where there aren’t any, but since Gideon has previously been doubtful of God I wonder if he was supposed to take these servants with him? God gave HIM the job. However, I imagine that tearing down an altar and pole might require a lot of work, so maybe him taking the ten servants wasn’t that big a deal. Regardless, we are told that while Gideon tore down the idol worship materials and built the new altar, he did so at night because he was scared of what might happen if others saw him.

What is done in the darkness always comes to the light. In the morning, people are infuriated when they see what has become of their altar and pole. They demand to know the identity of the offender. Gideon thought he was safe because he committed his Godly deed at night..? Wrong. Someone ALWAYS sees. Or perhaps a servant had told on him? Either way it goes, a careful search was done, and it was discovered that Gideon, son of Joash, was the guilty party. The men of the town go to Joash and demand that Gideon be handed over for execution.

Joash is not having it. He makes an interesting argument, informing the people that if their confidence is in Baal as a god, he should be able to avenge the wrongdoing on his own.

“…Why are you defending Baal? Will you argue his case? Whoever pleads his case will be put to death by morning! If Baal truly is a god, let him defend himself and destroy the one who broke down his altar!” From then on Gideon was called Jerub-baal, which means “Let Baal defend himself,” because he broke down Baal’s altar” (vv. 31-32).

God has kept Gideon safe from execution in this instance, but Gideon is still doubtful. Several armies join together in alliance and prepare to battle Israel. While they are camped in the valley of Jezreel, the Spirit of God comes upon Gideon and “clothed him in power” (v. 34). Gideon uses a ram’s horn to signify impending battle and men from the clan of Abiezer (the clan he belongs to) arrive. Gideon also sends messengers to the rest of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, and they all respond, sending their warriors.

I can’t blame Gideon for getting nervous here, I truly can’t. This is brand new territory for him. Remember he fully believes his clan is the weakest. See the futility in labels? That’s why even today it makes no sense to throw a label on anyone, because we never know what God has in store for them. But I digress. Gideon is understandably nervous, and he asks God for another sign that what he is about to do is REALLY what he is supposed to be doing. He designs a test using a wool fleece:

Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water” (vv. 36-38).

Proof enough, right?


Asking the Lord not to be angry with him, Gideon asks for yet another sign. I kind of wonder if he was hoping he wouldn’t get the sign, and thus be released from his responsibility. It’s highly possible that he was just full of doubt and did not yet understand that the power he had was coming directly from the originator of all power:

Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.” So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew” (vv. 39-40).

Welp, now that that’s over, time for battle, right?

It sure is! In chapter seven, Gideon, here referred to as Jerub-Baal, rises early in the morning and rallies his army. God has to put some final touches on the army. I’m sure it was a great surprise to Gideon when the Lord told him he had too many men. In typical God fashion, he has a very good reason as to why  Gideon needs to release some of his troops–because God is using Gideon and his army to his glory, and if thousands of men overtake the enemy, the victory would be attributed to the number and strength of Gideon’s army, not God. In order for God to properly show his strength, Gideon needed to shed some of his army. God has a way for Gideon to decide who is to go and who is to stay.

First, the men are given the option to leave. For those who are too timid to go, they can leave, and 22,000 of them do just that–can you imagine, TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND??? That leaves behind 10,000. God says that is still too large a number. In order to further dwindle the numbers, Gideon is told to lead the men to a nearby spring and separate the men into two groups–men that use their hands to cup the water and use their tongues to lap it up like dogs, and men who kneel and drink directly from the spring. Only 300 men cupped the water. They are the ones who will go with Gideon into battle. Gideon sends the rest of the men home.

That night, the Lord tells Gideon that it is time to shine. He tells Gideon that he will be victorious, but interestingly enough, allows Gideon an opportunity to get further confirmation. Again, I cannot say I blame Gideon for being hesitant. But recall that he had asked for several signs and received them. It is obvious that God knows Gideon’s heart (as he does all of us) and offers him a chance to either go right into battle or go with his servant Purah to the Midianite camp and overhear a conversation that is taking place among the Midianites. Gideon does just that, and the conversation strengthens his resolve. Basically, he finds out that A-HA!  It is just as God said it is:

“Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!” His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!” (vv. 13-14).
This confirmation from man gives Gideon more confidence than did the confirmation from the Lord. Either way it goes, Gideon is ready to move forward. He divides the men into three groups of ten, gives each group a clay jar with a torch in it and a ram’s horn, and tells them to follow his lead. It was just after midnight and the enemy camp has just changed guards (so basically the company in charge of keeping watch has retired for the night, and a new company is on watch). This is when Gideon and the 100 men with him approach the enemy camp. When they reach the edge, they blew their ram’s horns and broke their jars. The other two camps of men follow suit. Holding their blazing torches in their left hands and the ram’s horn in their right hands, the men shout: “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” And it’s on.
The sudden onslaught throws the Midianites into chaos and panic. They rush about the camp, confused, shouting and trying to escape. When the 300 Israelite men blow their ram’s horns, the Lord caused so much confusion as to where the Midianite men turned their swords on each other. Those who were not killed in the fracas flee to nearby areas.
Gideon sends for warriors from the tribes of Naphtali, Asher and Manasseh to help them continue their pursuit of the remaining Midianites. He also invites men from Ephraim to cut the escapees off at the Jordan River. The men of Ephraim do just that and successfully capture Oreb and Zeeb, the two  Midianite commanders, kill them and bring their heads to Gideon.

I need to rest now. I have to be ready early in the morning. For the past few weeks my baby has been congested and as such she has not been sleeping too well, which means that yours truly isn’t sleeping well either. Then there is my son, who would forget his head if it weren’t attached to his body. It is admittedly very frustrating sometimes trying to get him to be more responsible. I kind of wonder why I have to remind a ten-year-old to handle his own personal hygiene, as I remember when I was ten no one had to tell me to brush my teeth or wash the sleep crust from my eyes–but then again, we’re talking about a little boy here. So I don’t have to keep repeating myself one thousand times and so he can get into a little routine, I put a checklist on the back of the bathroom door as to what he needs to do before he leaves in the morning and another checklist on the back of the front door so he can make sure before he leaves the house he has everything he needs. The other morning I made the obviously huge mistake of not getting up, after my husband told me to go ahead and lay back down. LOL. Jayden forgot his clarinet, his belt, and put on the wrong shirt. I assume that means I don’t have the option of sleeping in anymore. Ah well. Kids.

He’s work but I love him to absolute death. It’s part of being a parent. He brings more joy than he does anything negative, and I’m looking forward to watching him grow up, even though the idea of him being a man depresses me just a tad–because he was such an enjoyable baby. My son loves his baby sister–my other daughter, I know he loves her but they have a love-hate thing going on, LOL… They argue and pick at each other quite a bit, and sometimes when my son gets with their cousin, who is a bit older than Layla, he will forget about his sister, and that irritates me, but he is a sweet sensitive tenderhearted guy who I know will make a good husband one day. I’m making sure of that. Speaking of which, here is another meme I found to be offensive. Please excuse the grammatical error, but the other one I had originally viewed had a curse word in it that I don’t want attached to my blog.

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I fully explained to Jayden that once he turned ten his life lessons would be kicked into overdrive. At this point, I have approximately eight years to get him ready to possibly live on his own. He needs to know how to do everything a “woman” is supposed to do. I don’t know what universe the author of this meme comes from, or why he believes a man should be waiting on a woman to cook, especially considering the fact that people are marrying later–so what is a man doing before he gets married, eating out every day? Hopefully not. And isn’t it nice for a husband to be able to cook just in case something happens to his wife, for instance, if she gets sick and cannot use her hands, like I can’t sometimes???

Sons and daughters need to know how to take care of a house, cook, manage their money, perform simple car maintenance. Basically, Adulting 101. I understand Biblical times where the man was the breadwinner and the wife stayed home. Nowadays a lot of families need two incomes just to make ends meet. I’m not saying that is a gold standard, either, because I feel terrible for families that are forced to put their babies in the hands of a stranger at a daycare because they have to work, when they’d rather have a parent stay at home. Something’s gotta give. Either way this meme is garbage. I like this one better.

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Don’t Wait for the Storms to Come…

In light of the recent events concerning Hurricane Matthew, today’s Sunday school lesson was very timely, and I enjoyed myself. I am always happy to “pay it forward” by using my trials and tribulations to hopefully keep my young Sunday school charges from getting into similar pickles. Today we talked about having a strong foundation.

I reminded them of points I make several times a month–I say things repeatedly because I really want them to understand. The life of a Christian is difficult, and I say that as an adult. Imagine being a kid, just wanting to fit in, facing the temptation to sext or post nude or semi-nude pics on whatever website the kids are using, Snapchat or whatever; to try the latest fad or Youtube challenge, which may or may not include the possibility of getting yourself hurt or harming someone else; living in a world where your parents are either too busy or too self-absorbed to properly parent you while the fascinating stranger on the Internet thinks the world of you…etc. I always tell my young people that just because they don’t have adult problems doesn’t mean their problems aren’t significant. I am glad I grew up in the eighties and not now. I don’t want these children’s society.

After informing them again that the  Bible does not ever say that Christians will be rewarded with an earthly life of ease, I attempted to stress the importance of developing good habits in your youth. In one way or another, I have been in church my entire life, or at the very least, exposed to God and Christian teachings. I couldn’t tell you of my first experience in church or even the first time I heard about Jesus. I was entirely too young. Obviously, something stuck, because as I grew older and more worldly, unfortunately, I pulled away from God, but I knew right where to go when trouble came.

It was several months after having been raped. I was still struggling, but putting on a brave facade for my loved ones. Despite my parent’s hesitation I went back to Grand Valley State University, having been told that my assailant had left the school and I would be informed if he attempted to re-enroll.It was the summer session, and I wanted to try to knock out as many classes as I possibly could before he came back. I was certain he would try, and I wasn’t too confident that GVSU wouldn’t allow him back. I also knew that if he came back my next course of action to have him removed would have been a campus judicial review, where I would have to face him in an almost court-like setting. After the harsh treatment I had already received from the prosecutor of the county, I was not interested.

Something happened that had never happened before. In every past instance, I would register for classes and a bill would be generated and sent to my parents, who had paid promptly every year since 1999 (this was 2003). All of a sudden, my classes were dropped not once, not twice, but three times in a row. I was told it was because no payment was received, yet the school had never even billed my parents. I found out the true reason why my classes were dropped when I almost walked directly into my assailant, who was coming out of the bookstore with a bag of books, looking as carefree as he could be.

That was when I realized I was not going to make it at Grand Valley. I already had some of my assailant’s football teammates calling me a liar. I had people I thought were my friends not even attempt to put aside the beefs THEY caused between us to offer me even a kind word. These were people that I had fed, people that I had provided a place to sleep when they needed it, and they had nothing to say to me. I can’t decide which was worse–finally having to admit defeat and acknowledge that someone had gotten the best of me, which was extremely embarrassing for someone who had prided herself on being smart and tough, or having to tuck my tail between my legs and return home to my parents, who had invested so much in my Grand Valley State education. I had no plan, but there was nothing else I could do but go back home to Ypsilanti.

I kept up the fight from home. Once I gathered myself, I let GVSU and the prosecutor know the full extent of my fury. I and some of my family members deluded the prosecutor with letters and emails. I contacted several members of GVSU’s administration and let them know how poorly I had been handled. Some of the responses I got from the campus officials was sensitive, although it offered little help, but the response from the prosecutor was what sent me to the edge.

Out of the blue one day, I got an email from the prosecutor, stating that I had missed a meeting with himself, the detective who had handled my case, if I recall correctly, and some other law enforcement official. There may have also been someone from GVSU. I had never heard of a meeting, never been invited to one, and up until the prosecutor faced heat from my loved ones, he hadn’t shown me any interest at all. His email accused me of being difficult to contact and elusive. In my eyes, he had scheduled the meeting to make it seem as though he was attempting to be fair and responsive and didn’t let me know on purpose so I’d look bad. That let me know that he had zero interest in helping me. I couldn’t go to school, so that meant four years of education had essentially been wasted. I had sang in the Gospel choir, been the president for a volunteer organization that helped senior citizens, been a site coordinator for Make a Difference Day, participated in Alternative Spring Break–I had done a lot of good for GVSU. But it didn’t matter because I couldn’t catch a football like my assailant..

I saw no way out of my devastation. I was not used to dealing with pain, because during the seventeen years I lived with my parents, they had done an A+  job shielding me from the garbage the world had to offer. The plans I had for my life had come completely unraveled. I was NOT going to graduate from GVSU. I was going to have to leave my friends behind. I had lost some friends that I had been very good to. The legal system had NOT sided with the good guy. My parents had been so proud of me–I was returning to their home an abject failure. I was going to be a burden to them yet again. On top of that, the hatred and disgust I felt for myself was insurmountable. I couldn’t see any other way out.

After drowning my sorrows in a bottle of Hennessey one night I felt numb enough to actually do it. I got the sharpest knife I could find and sat, holding it, actually actively talking myself into it. I kept reminding myself of how I’d let my family down and how my life could never be the same. Everywhere I would go from then on out, the rape would follow me.

I had the blade of the knife on my vein when a sharp sliver of light came through the blinds. In that very moment I pictured my parents and thought of how hurt they would be if they found me that way. The tears kept coming, but my self-doubting and devaluing words were replaced with prayer. I cried out to God to help me, and I don’t remember dropping or throwing the knife, but somehow it ended up across the room.

Although I hadn’t been praying like I was supposed to…

I hadn’t been reading my Bible like I used to…

My participation in the Gospel choir was even tainted because my focus had shifted from singing songs of praise to the cute drummer…

I rarely attended church…

If people approached me at that time they would not have even known I was a Christian…

Yet and still, the very moment I cried out to the Lord for help, I got it. Just as Peter cried out for help when he was sinking on the water, and Jesus immediately stretched out His hand. We should not wait until we’re sinking to learn to trust and rely on the Lord. It’s best to get the foundation settled before the storms come.

This is why I have given out Bible reading plans and encouraged the kids to use their resources to get a Word in every day. I remind them that daily devotionals are available. They can use their email addresses and subscribe to websites that will send them right to them. They can download Bibles onto their phones and tablets. I encourage them to start their day out with prayer. We all need to make it a habit to commune daily with God, even if we’re not going through something. Because in due time, we will.

Pray for all of those affected by Hurricane Matthew.

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Summer Breeze????

Wow. Gotta love Michigan. So after a few days within the last couple of weeks that involved me turning on the heat at night and all three of my kids and husband battling coughs and sniffles, it is now an absolutely perfect clear 82 degrees and has been beautiful for several days. I am feeling worse and worse, but cannot bring myself to be in a bad mood among all this splendor, especially considering what is going on with Hurricane Matthew. The people in the affected regions need prayer and aid.

What baffles me about that though is the people who either have refused to leave or still refuse to leave. A lot of people would rather lose their lives than abandon their possessions, apparently. That is sad. An acquaintance of a relative said she prayed during their last hurricane and God brought her through, so she is trusting Him to do the same this time. Now, I of course believe prayer works, but I also think that we are supposed to use our resources and make informed decisions. God equipped meteorologists and the like to do their jobs and if their research shows that this hurricane is on a collision course with your state, I say better be safe than sorry and get out of dodge.

That is one of the pluses of living here in Michigan. With the exception of the occasional tornado or rare earthquake, our weather is pretty steady. Yet and still if I ever heard a hurricane was coming this way, I’d grab my most important things (documents such as birth certificates, home ownership paperwork if necessary, etc., and photos) and pray for the best–as I headed somewhere else.

It has been a relaxing day so far. Apparently I needed the rest, because although I still feel awful, I don’t feel as bad as I have been the last few days. My husband took my freshly minted 10-year-old son (more on that in a sec) to school. Our four-year-old daughter Layla insisted on going  as well. She is very crafty–I think she knew that my mom wasn’t going to her part-time job today, and she had early intentions on going with Mom back to her house (and that is exactly what happened–Mom drops my niece off, who goes to the same school as my son, in the morning, so we see her every day).

So for the better part of the day I was alone with my baby girl Jayla. She had some struggles as she attempted to sleep through the very obnoxious mystery construction work that is taking place across the street from us, work that got so loud that it actually shook our house on occasion. I have yet to know what they are doing, but rumor has it that they are building a pipeline that will extend thirty miles or so. I have been trying to find out if this was the case and if so, why weren’t we ever notified? It is quite mystifying. They (meaning the construction workers) are literally drilling in people’s backyards, yet no one was ever asked for permission or told exactly what this project is all about. That leads me to wonder how this was approved.

Despite her tiredness, Jayla was still in a good mood, and we relaxed in bed for the better part of the day as I dealt with a left thigh that kept going numb, eye floaters, chest pains, a head that feels as though it is weighted down, sporadic abdominal pain, hand pain, and pain where there was pain. SMH. Luckily I didn’t have to make any major decisions because I have been super confused. It is difficult to explain, but here are a few examples… the other day I cooked a meal at my mom’s house, and she has a stove with cooktop knobs that only show the positions of the burners they to which they correspond.

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 I had the worst time trying to figure out which burner went with which knob based on those little stupid dots.

Mind you I have used that stove countless times.

That is what I mean by this confusion. I am messing up on things I know full well how to do. I am showcasing memory impairment as well. I have gotten stumped on facts and details that I have known for years. If you were to ask me an on-the-spot question, you may get a blank stare as I frantically try to get my faulty brain to process your request.

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It makes me feel like I look like an idiot, and for someone who has spent years and thousands of dollars to get the credentials to show that I am NOT an idiot, that is the most frustrating part of all of this.

On a brighter note…

My firstborn turned ten yesterday. It was bittersweet. I am thankful to God for allowing Jayden to make it to ten, but I sure do miss my little fat curly headed happy baby. He is still happy and kinda chunky, but everyone knows how sweet and special babies are. He is getting to the point where he needs us a little less each day, and I am now putting a great deal of effort into training him for responsible manhood. Each day on my birth board I read stories of frustrated women dealing with obnoxious husbands, husbands who don’t want to work, husbands that don’t help with the children–I’m not raising one of those. Now that he is ten Jayden and I can have good conversations about why he needs to know how to do his own laundry, cook his own meals, etc. I don’t want to have a miserable daughter-in-law and an entitled son. I want him to pull his own weight. Speaking of which, I found this on Facebook, and was, admittedly, offended until I examined my own marriage in relation to it:

Let’s be real, shall we?

In my personal opinion, as for ME, housework flipping SUCKS. In general. Now, there are things I really don’t mind doing. As long as the laundry doesn’t get backed up, which isn’t a problem now that we have a washer and dryer, I don’t mind laundry, with the exception of putting socks together. I absolutely detest matching up socks. Why? Because I ALWAYS, ALWAYS end up with an odd number of socks and it drives me flipping nuts. I have an entire drawer full of unmatched socks. I don’t really mind washing dishes, I don’t mind vacuuming, I don’t mind dusting. I love cooking. Housework also includes things pertinent to our children, including fixing and packing lunches, giving them baths, etc. I don’t mind any of those things either. Other than matching socks the only chore I hate doing 100% of the time is ironing. It is the most boring thing ever.

With that being said, I guess housework doesn’t necessarily SUCK as much as it is super boring and never ending. When I worked outside the home, I got a guaranteed break, a guaranteed lunch, a paycheck, a modicum of respect from my coworkers, an occasional challenge and adult interaction. Working outside the home satisfied my ambition, in that I felt (and admittedly still feel) that productivity is rewarded by a paycheck. I will be honest and say that I would feel better about myself if I was bringing some money into the household. Even still I can see how managing the home is invaluable, and making sure the place is safe and welcoming for my family is priceless.

But, yes it does get boring sometimes to have your life center around the home.

That is why it is important for a stay-at-home parent to still remember who they ARE aside from the chores. I still love to read and write. I still have friends. I still have interests. So I should still pursue them, in order that I don’t feel like an isolated maid. For a lot of the mainly women I have talked to about not working, they too find that it’s not necessarily the work that goes into maintaining the home that they detest, it’s the lack of respect they get from not making money and the isolation and loss of self. When those things are reasonably balanced you will have a happier stay-at-home parent. No, it’s not selfish to still want to be yourself.

As for the meme, I suppose I found it to be pretty condescending, and maybe that’s why it initially rubbed me the wrong way. When I was working outside the home, yes I expected my husband to pitch in some. I didn’t necessarily get that, but it only seems fair that if both husband and wife are working full-time, and both LIVE in the home, that both should work together to maintain said home. In the case of one spouse staying home, then absolutely they should pick up more of the in-home responsibilities. I took umbrage to a few things. Feel free to disagree with me if you will.

The author of this took a lot of heat for it, especially after she defended it once asked if she believes this applies to working women as well (she said yes). I felt the same as the women who got offended–whereas the author explains that we didn’t marry our husbands so they could help us with the housework, we also didn’t get married so we could be treated like maids either. Unfortunately, a lot of people who responded to the meme were atheists who used this opportunity to malign Christianity as outdated, oppressive and sexist. I understand that may have been the takeaway for some, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

  1. Yes, wives are to be their husband’s helper. BUT, a husband is supposed to love his wife as Christ loved the church. Now, that’s some major love right there. A Godly husband who loves his wife as much as our Savior, who gave His very life for us, would not be happy to watch his wife be overworked and unhappy.
  2. A lot of the women had a problem with the word “submit”. It is an abused word, not always clearly defined or understood. One woman wrote that she was having a hard time with her husband because when it came time for a decision to be made that would affect the household, he would always tell her no, with no discussion, and if she attempted to offer her opinion, he would tell her she was not submitting (GAG). What do I believe submitting looks like?
    1. First, you have to marry a man who is deeply rooted and grounded in the Word. Don’t expect a man who is not of God to truly understand what submission is to look like.
    2. An issue in the marriage comes up, husband and wife have differing opinions. Technically, the idea of submission is that the husband has the final say. Here is where it gets hairy–if the husband is indeed one who is rooted and grounded in the Word, he will definitely take his wife’s feelings and opinions into consideration as he makes the final decision. His decision as the priest of the home should also include consultation with God, PARTICULARLY if he and his wife aren’t on the same page. At the end of the day, there should never be an instance where a Godly husband is telling his wife “No” with no discussion. So in the end, the decision is actually a joint one. Husband and wife talk, if an impasse is reached, God will direct the husband as to how he should move forward. A woman with a Godly husband will trust his efforts to lead.
    3. Submission goes both ways, although the husband is the leader… as I have said before, great nations don’t usually have two leaders. They have, for example, a president and vice-president. In the home the husband is the president, the wife is the vice-president. Look no further than Ephesians 5:21-31 to confirm:
“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

It comes down to me with a mutual respect for each other and a true understanding of the partnerhood that is marriage (and yes, I know partnerhood is not a word, but it works). There are things I do better than my husband. There are things he does better than me. When you know each other well, you go with that. I don’t think the stiffly defined gender roles are absolutely necessary for each relationship because in this society there are too many other variables. Most families don’t have the luxury of having the woman stay at home. In those situations, let’s say both spouses get off work at five. While the wife cooks dinner, can the husband throw in a load of clothes? While the husband helps with homework, can the wife pack the lunches for the kids for tomorrow and iron their clothes? Can they alternate who helps with baths, and both tuck the kids into bed and say prayers? On the weekends, can the entire family roll out a list of what needs to be done and divvy it up? Yes.

Another point that jumped to my mind is that, in a situation like mine, there may be an ill partner who cannot do all of those things. In that case, should the ill partner be made to feel like a burden? No, because when we take our vows we say we will love “in sickness and in health”. Neither partner should be a burden to the other, so if one is in the situation like me where she is a stay at home mom, yes she should do the majority of the housework (the only thing I really care for my husband to do is take out the trash, but I’ll usually do that too) if she can (or he) and be responsible with money if they are living off one income. But it goes both ways. The working partner ought to respect the homemaker’s contribution, because that is work too. I love, respect, and appreciate my husband for going to work sometimes seven days a week on very little sleep, so when he comes home, no I don’t expect him to cook or clean the house. I like for him to spend time with his family. Now could he be a bit less sloppy? That’s for a different blog post🙂

I do happen to love these memes…

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(And before anyone gets their panties in a wad about the breastfeeding mother, remember that breastfeeding is natural and the very purpose of breasts).

Let me also mention one more thing. I do agree with the meme author’s suggestion that we should do our work cheerfully as to the Lord. When a man or woman goes to a job that allows them a paycheck that can be used to support their family, they ought to do that job cheerfully because God gave it to them that they might be able to make a living. If a woman is able to stay at home and raise her kids, she should do so cheerfully because a lot of moms might only be able to dream of staying home with her kids as opposed to dropping her precious babies off to a stranger for eight hours. I can’t think of anything scarier than the idea of leaving my almost 4-month-old daughter with someone I haven’t known for, like… my ENTIRE life.

We also have to remember that when we are serving others–when we’re at our jobs and giving it our all, when we’re at home working tirelessly to make sure it’s tidy, God is our ultimate boss and he is pleased when we are good stewards of the things he has given us. In due to time he will give us more and more according to his will.

Well this post took longer than I initially intended. I got caught up in one of my tirades and now I do need to make dinner for my family and tend to my kids (all three are home now). I’ll be back later with more Judges.


Judges–Heading Toward Monarchy

Although the book of Joshua ends with the death of Israel’s Godly and fearless warrior, it still finishes on a high note–a spiritual high note, at the very least. The nation of Israel has been successful under Joshua, but there is still work to be completed in their pursuit of the Promised Land of Canaan. There are still natives of Canaan that are have to be removed from the land, per God’s instructions.

The first chapter of Judges begins with the Israelites trying to decide which of the twelve tribes will be the first to go up and attack Canaan. I can only imagine the confusion at this point, going from having a leader to APPARENTLY having none. I say apparently because by now, the Israelites should have realized that God was their leader, and that it was God who counseled Joshua and empowered the nation. So yes, they did not have a leader in the flesh, but they were being guided, protected and led by the very Creator of the universe.

The Lord answers them and tells them that Judah should go, for he has given them victory. Judah requests that Simeon go with them. Now, this may be nit-picking just a tad, but the Lord did not say that Judah needed anyone else to go. He specifically said that he had given JUDAH the victory, so that signifies to me that God intended for Judah to go alone. Was Judah being scary or disobedient already by asking that Simeon go with them? In the grand scheme of things, it may not make a huge difference, but I wonder if Joshua had been there and told Judah to go, would they have asked him for Simeon to accompany them, or would they have trusted him? My point is, it doesn’t seem that Israel has yet learned to trust God and take him at his word, but I could be wrong. Maybe God didn’t care that Judah asked Simeon for support.

The Lord indeed gives Judah victory over the Canaanites and Perizzites, killing 10,000 warriors and eventually capturing and killing King Adoni-bezek in Jerusalem. More battle ensues. At one point, Caleb offers his daughter’s hand in marriage to the warrior who is able to attack and capture Kiriath-sepher. The lucky man ends up being his very own nephew, Othniel, and Caleb keeps his promise and gives his daughter Acsah to Othniel as his wife.

Let me get a couple things off my chest here. First things first, super eewww at the idea of marrying one’s cousin, right? I always try to remind myself that I am looking at things from a 20th and 21st century standpoint. The marriage between Othniel and Acsah would now be considered incest and highly looked down upon. But as far as I could remember, God had not prohibited marrying a relative at this point in the Scriptures. These marriages may also have occurred to keep property within the family or to keep individuals from marrying pagan wives. The fastest example I can think of right now is Samson, who we will discuss later on–his parents attempted to discourage him from marrying a Philistine woman, if I am not mistaken. Also, the reason why incest is discouraged today is because of the potential for human defect which was not present in those days. Still–I cringe at the thought of marrying one of my cousins.  Love them to death, but not in THAT way.

My second random rant–gosh, some of these names of people and places are doozies. Plain and simple, when I first really got into reading the Word one of the things that annoyed me the most about it was the language and all of these foreign names (and when I say foreign, I mean foreign to ME as an American, different from what I am accustomed to). I thought of two of the dumber Facebook memes I saw recently. One involved a very passionate young male poster who offered this as his reasoning as to why Jesus never existed: Because the Hebrew language did not have the “J” sound.

That one was rather simple to refute. He was correct that the Hebrew language didn’t have the “J”, but what this young man didn’t know was that “Jesus” is actually “YESHUA”. Yeshua is translated into “Joshua”, and the Greek version of that name, being that ancient Greek also didn’t have the “J”, was “Iesous”, which is translated into Jesus. From what I understand, this happened over time. Some people don’t think we should even use the name Jesus, just Yeshua, but I think it is more important that we know who He is and accept Him than quibble over a name.

Apparently this poster appreciated the knowledge; I can only hope he took it upon himself to do more research. A second meme also discussed Biblical names. This poster’s evidence to debunk Christianity was that the names of the disciples were American, and that didn’t make sense.

Well, they were half right. It doesn’t make sense, because it’s not true. Again, the names of the disciples have been Westernized, if you will. The real names of the disciples would have been:

Simon (Peter): Shimon

James: Yakov

John:  Yochanon

Bartholomew: Bar-Talmai

Matthew: Mattityahu

Thomas: Tau’Ma

Thaddeus: Theudas

Andrew and Philip were Greek names: Andreas and Filippos

Judas: Yehuda

I find this stuff from reading articles and books written by Jewish authors on Jewish traditions and history, for what it’s worth.

But I digress. Now, those names aren’t TOO much, but I have to admit I appreciate reading the names in their Western format. I know it’s awful, but I have to be honest.

Back to Judges before I get too far off task…

So Acsah and Othniel are married, and she urges Othniel to ask Caleb for a field and then she asks for springs of water to go along with the field. Obviously Caleb is a loving father, and he obliges his daughter. Judah and Simeon continue to fight the native inhabitants of the land, but as we move forward, we find out that Israel fails to completely move the people out of the land. And now we have a problem.

Judah failed to drive the people living on the plains who had iron chariots. As was promised, Hebron was given to Caleb, who completed his mission to drive out the remaining descendants of Anak. Benjamin failed to drive the Jebusites out from Jerusalem, and although Joseph is successful after the tribe recruits a local man to give them insight as to a way into the town of Bethel, the tribe of Manasseh is wildly unsuccessful clearing their land. Instead they enslaved the people. Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher and Naphtali also fail in their efforts. Dan not only fails but is pushed back by the Amorites. This leads us into chapter two.

My humble assumption is that some time has passed. I assume that the Israelites have given up trying to clear the land and have decided that enslaving the remaining people in certain situations is acceptable, although it is in stark contrast to what they have been commanded to do. I assume that they have given up and fallen into some sort of semblance of normal life with the remaining Canaanites living among them. An angel of the Lord visits them and reminds them of their failure:

I brought you out of Egypt into this land that I swore to give your ancestors, and I said I would never break my covenant with you. For your part, you were not to make any covenants with the people living in this land; instead, you were to destroy their altars. But you disobeyed my command. Why did you do this? So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.” (vv. 1-3)

This passage serves as a very clear reminder of WHY God insisted that the Israelites clear the land. Think of when you first came to Christ, when you first started learning about the Lord, or when you first dedicated or even re-dedicated your life to Christ. As a spiritual babe you were highly susceptible to temptation. Think about the habits you had, or maybe even still struggle with. It is easier to work toward removing them if you are in a certain environment. If you are a person who has struggled with alcoholism, certainly you don’t want to work in a bar, right? You don’t want to live in a house where everyone drinks, do you?

The Israelites were still spiritual babes, and admittedly, even those who are strong in the Lord may struggle when sin is all around them.

Another point here that I love to reiterate–when a promise is made between you and God, it’s up to you to keep your end. God will always keep his. The only one who is capable of breaking a covenant with God is man. God’s promises are secure.

The people weep loudly about their sin and offer sacrifices, but apparently this remorse is temporary.

In verses 6-8 the death of Joshua is discussed again, including his place of rest–at Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim.

Israel gets complacent and raises up a generation of children without teaching them about God: “After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel” (v.10).

Let’s break this down…

The onus was on the parents to teach the kids, and apparently they did not do so. Why does this happen?

That verse reminds me of a conversation I overheard and kinda sorta interjected myself into when I was working one day. It was the Christmas season, and my Jewish coworker and a patient were having a discussion about religion. The patient told my coworker that she had been raised Catholic but her husband was not into religion, and she too felt that Catholicism was too rigid. She bemoaned the rituals and mass and all of those things and said that she and her husband were not holding their children to any specific religion. They could pick whichever faith suited them. In the meantime, their household incorporated aspects from multiple faiths and celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas, among other things. This mother was pleased with her efforts. I was confused. She said, “I just want my kids to be good people. They don’t have to be Catholic to be good people.”

I cleared my throat. That was my way of getting my coworker’s attention. Knowing I am a devout Christian, she asked me what I thought of that.

“No disrespect,” I said, “but as long as my kids are in my house they will be serving God. For me Christianity isn’t just about what happens here on earth as much as it is what happens after you die. I don’t want to go to heaven and have my kids end up in hell.”

Mic drop.

Needless to say the conversation ended there. I hoped I hadn’t offended the woman, because I definitely wasn’t trying to. But it bothered me to think that if this woman had ever accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and was heaven bound, why WOULDN’T you want the same for your kids?

Either way it goes, Israel failed to train up their children in the ways of the Lord, and disobedience in the form of idol worship ensued. Angry, God allowed the Israelites to be oppressed, since oppression is and always has been an effective form of turning people back to the Lord (you know when we get content with life we are less likely to rely on God. Sometimes he has to remind us that we are not in control). The people are greatly defeated and distressed. Each battle they went into, they lost. I wonder if they asked themselves why Baal and Ashtoreth weren’t helping them??

In response to their distress, our loving God raised up a judge for his people. This begins the pattern. God raises up a judge, the people obey God under that judge, that judge dies, the people disobey and are oppressed, they cry out, God raises up another judge to deliver them from oppression, the people obey as long as that judge lives, wash, rinse, repeat.

God washes his hands of the situation in a sense, allowing the peoples to live among the Israelites, using them to test the resolve of the Israelites to remain close to God despite their pagan influences. In chapter three we get a rundown of the nations God left behind to not only test the Israelites but also give this new generation of Israelites experience in battle. As was to be expected, the Israelites intermarry with the people and worship their gods. They do evil in the sight of the Lord, worshiping Baal and Asherah poles, and are turned over to King Cushan-rishathaim (whew) for eight years. When the Israelites cry out to their merciful God, he raises up Othniel, Caleb’s nephew, the one who married his daughter Acsah, as the nation’s judge. Othniel goes to war against King C-R (I’m not interested in writing that name out again) and is victorious. He goes on to judge Israel for forty peaceful years before he dies.

Israel goes back to her idol-worshiping ways and is handed over to King Eglon of Moab for 18 years before Ehud is raised up to defeat them. This is a very interesting story right here. Ehud was of the tribe of Benjamin. For whatever reason, a lot of Benjaminites were lefties. This gave them an edge in hand to hand combat because being a left-handed warrior was not to be expected.

Ehud is sent to take Israel’s tribute money to King Eglon. My assumption here, which requires further research, is that one of the means of oppression King Eglon placed upon Israel was of a financial type. In all of these situations, I wonder how exactly Israel was being oppressed–were they being enslaved? Unfairly taxed? Probably a combination of both. Either way, Ehud made a double-edged dagger that was approximately a foot in length, strapped it to his right thigh, and hid it under his clothing. This is an important detail to keep in mind.

Ehud delivers the money and starts home with the individuals who have accompanied him on the trip. When he reaches the stone idols at Gilgal, he turns back, apparently alone. I have assumptions about why he headed back. I think maybe he was attempting to get rid of the company that was with him. It would be easier for one person to get away than several.

Under the guise that he had a secret message to deliver to King Eglon, Ehud gets King Eglon to have his servants leave the room. Ehud tells King Eglon “I have a message from God for you!” (v.20). King Eglon, a very fat man, rises from his seat, and as he does so, Ehud removes the dagger from his right thigh and plunges it into the fat man’s belly.

Remember how Ehud had the dagger strapped to his right thigh, and how I said being a lefty gave him and the other Benjaminites an advantage? Say Ehud had been searched before going into the room with King Eglon. King Eglon’s security detail would have focused their search efforts on the left leg, expecting a right-handed warrior. When God works, he really works.

The dagger goes into the King’s fat belly and disappears. He is disemboweled. Ehud closes and locks the door and escapes down a latrine.

The king’s company thinks he is in there relieving himself because the doors are closed and locked and do not go in to investigate for a short period. When they do, they find the king dead, but by now, Ehud is long gone. Ehud gets back to Ephraim and sounds a call of arms, rallying the Israelites to go and attack Moab. With the deaths of 10,000 warriors, Moab is captured, resulting in 80 years of peace.

After Ehud’s death, we are given a short blurb about Shamgar. Shamgar son of Anath becomes the next to rescue Israel. Not much is said about him other than the fact that he once killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad. That lets me know he must have been terribly strong and skilled, because an ox goad is not the most ideal weapon.


Chapter four returns us to our familiar formula. Ehud is dead and the nation is back on schedule, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord. As a result they are turned over to King Jabin of Hazor, a ruthless oppressor of the Israelites for 20 years. The Bible informs us of the military might of this king by letting us know that his army, commandeered by Sisera, has 900 iron chariots.  This made King Jabin a formidable foe.

The people cry out, and merciful God gives them Deborah. What do we know about Deborah? She was a married woman. Her husband’s name was Lappidoth. She had already been called by God to be a prophet. The Bible gives what appears to be an unnecessary detail–that Deborah judged the Israelites from beneath a palm which became known as the Palm of Deborah. Well, apparently palms were rare in Palestine, so this was not an unnecessary detail🙂

Deborah sends for Barak son of Abinoam, a member of the tribe of Naphtali, and tells him he has been called by God to command an army of 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun in an attack against King Jabin’s army, led by Sisera. Barak says he will go, but only if Deborah goes with him.

This interests me. Now, Deborah is already in a unique position, being a woman who is over all of Israel. I think that is wonderful. But I was kind of caught off guard by Barak’s reluctance to go without her. I know some things are considered male chauvinistic, but particularly in those times, men didn’t want women to be victorious over them. Deborah even brings that up in verse 9:

Very well,” she replied, “I will go with you. But you will receive no honor in this venture, for the lord’s victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman”.

Obviously it worked out for them, so I suppose it is a moot point, just something I thought was interesting.

Deborah and the army of 10,000 go head out, and when Sisera hears that Barak and his army have made their way to Mount Tabor, he readies his 900 iron chariots for battle. His 900 chariots were no match for the Lord, who threw them into a panic, allowing Sisera and Co. to rout the enemy army. Sisera manages to escape on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. Apparently Sisera thought he was safe since Heber was acquaintances with King Jabin. He thought wrong.

Jael comes out to meet Sisera and invites him into her tent, where she covers him with a blanket. He asks her for water; she gives him milk from a leather bag and covers him up again. Sisera asks Jael to keep lookout and falls asleep from exhaustion. When he does, Jael takes a tent peg and hammer and drives the tent peg into Sisera’s head, killing him in his sleep. SAVAGE, right????

Look back up to what Deborah said earlier, about Sisera being killed by a woman. I  assumed she meant her, but no. Sisera WAS indeed killed by a woman, though. You know how I am–I wonder what made Jael do it? Was she sympathetic to the Israelites? I dunno. Either way it goes, King Jabin’s army has been destroyed. When Barak shows up, Jael shows him what she has done. Israel grows stronger and stronger and is able to defeat King Jabin completely.

Chapter Five illustrates Deborah’s poetic nature with a song describing the battle, sang by her and Barak. According to the song, when the people marched out in battle the earth trembled and the cloudy skies poured down rain (v. 4); and the mountains quaked (v. 5). Shamgar is mentioned, but only briefly, as is Jael. Deborah is described as a “mother for Israel” (v. 7), and the sin that got the Israelites in trouble in the first place is also spoken of (“When Israel chose new gods, war erupted at the city gates”, v. 8). Beginning at verse 14, the song gives the tribes that participated a special “shout out”, if you will.  However, we find out that the tribe of Reuben did not participate in the battle, nor did Dan or Asher. The story of Jael’s victory over Sisera is recounted again in detail. The song then describes the reaction of Sisera’s mother, picturing her looking out a window as she waited for her son to return from battle. When she ponders what is taking him so long, her handlers suggest that maybe he is dividing his plunder. The song ends with “lord, may all your enemies die like Sisera! But may those who love you rise like the sun in all its power!” (v.31), and the nation of Israel enjoys peace for 40 years.

One thing I have noticed about these Biblical songs is something that again arises from my 20th and 21st century standpoint. They don’t rhyme. I often try to sing them myself to try and figure out what kind of tune they can be sang to, and I usually fail. Well, these songs weren’t made to entertain. They weren’t supposed to be catchy. They were intended to praise the Lord and serve as a means of passing down history verbally. And mind you, some of the rhyme or meter may have been lost in translation.

It has gotten late and I should attempt to sleep while I can. If I can. All three kids are sound asleep (PRAISE.THE.LORD), and I am happy to report that my baby typically sleeps the majority of the night now. On my birth board I have read the posts of many a frustrated mother who is still waking up every two or three hours with their baby. Some of them have a job to drag themselves to even after a night of broken sleep. I pray for them, and all parents, because parenting even with a “good” sleeper is a challenge. I feel for these kids, because they are not getting the best society has to offer. Each day I read something that burns me up–school violence, such as the elementary school shooting today, or instances where adults who are supposed to be considering the best interest of all children, not just children of rich parents or children who look like them, are making decisions that would have a negative impact on a vulnerable group of innocent babies. I am sick of both of them. People are content to see schools falling apart as long as their kids don’t go to them, right? I really hope those same people turning a blind eye to the plight of ANY kids do not consider themselves to be a Christian. If so, they should know that Jesus has a special place in His heart for children, and we should all joyfully serve those who are considered “the least”, as Jesus, a poor carpenter, was.

I should stop before I get onto a long-winded rant, because I can go on for days about the ills of this society. I pray for my son each morning, not only him, but all children. It’s my most effective weapon, since I cannot go to school and be with him every minute of the day. I wish I could… it is hard letting go. He will be ten next month, but I am sometimes still nervous when he goes outside to play. It is difficult balancing between the urge to be a helicopter mom and not wanting to stifle him with protection and cripple his growing independence. I’m sure I’ll have that struggle with my girls too. I just really don’t want anyone to harm them, particularly in the manner I was harmed, because I know I would want to kill whoever does so, real talk. But my kids are no more special than any others, and I pray for a society where NO kids are harmed. NONE. They don’t deserve it. And if they’re unruly, unprincipled, or unmannerly it is not their fault. It is the fault of whatever adult(s) are supposed to be raising them.

See, I went on a tangent!  Let me go before I continue!


Thank you Lord!

I’m back in business!

I have Internet access in my home again. That means I can get back to this blog. I have a lot of catching up to do. I believe I left off in Joshua. The book only gets better.

I am still standing in the need of prayer from those who are willing regarding my problem with organizing my time. I am a person who needs a few moments to myself regularly, to read, to write, or just to do absolutely nothing. Before I had my family I was content to window shop alone for hours, go sit in the library or bookstore and pick up random books and read, or just drive around (before gas got to be too expensive and people didn’t drive like bats out of Hell. Now I cannot stand driving). Now, for obvious reasons, it is rare that I get the time to myself to even take a complete shower. Someone always needs something.

Admittedly, today I got a tad irritated. We got a washer and dryer and I made plans (I know, WHY did I even bother) to finally catch up on the mountains of laundry scattered about the house. I wanted to get the entire place cleaned up. My kids had other plans.

My son, who will be ten next month, is a walking human garbage disposal and requires a meal–not a snack–every ten flipping minutes. My four-year-old daughter usually plays with my son or can entertain herself for a short period of time, but today she decided she absolutely required my attention and needed my stamp of approval on everything she did–she came out of her room wearing a tiara. I complimented her on her beauty. She wrote some of her letters and presented them to me proudly. I told her good job. She made golden tickets like the ones from Willy Wonka and I had to find somewhere to put them. On and on and on. And my three-month-old daughter apparently is teething already, and was cranky and fought sleep harder than usual today.

I had been excited yesterday at the prospect of a free Saturday. Typically there is something going on at church that would have us out of the house in the morning. I couldn’t wait to get my house back in order. Instead I fed and changed Jayla; fixed breakfast for everybody; put a load of clothes in; cleaned up the kitchen; dealt with Jayla’s fussiness; transferred the clean load to the dryer; approved drawings and costumes; answered my son’s two thousand questions and prepared his seven hundred meals; fed my daughter; dealt with my baby again; etc. I was more than just a tad irritated by the time my husband woke up from his nap (he had worked last night). I don’t think I worked this hard when I worked outside the home. At least there I was guaranteed breaks and had the opportunity to clock out and leave.

Now, I understand this is the life of a mother and I am thankful for my family, believe me. But I am not, nor will I ever be, one of those fake sanctimommies that pretends that parenthood, and motherhood in particular, is all peaches and cream. Nope. Sometimes I don’t want to be bothered and today was one of them. I was happy when my husband woke up and we got out of the house. I have never liked being cooped up in the house all day, ever.

Well, it is now late and my brand new dryer has stopped heating. I am bummed. Now I have to go figure out why.

I need prayer.

You know how you go in for a job interview and the interviewer asks you to describe one of your character weaknesses?

The answer for me is simple. I often have too much pride to ask for help when I need it, and am my own worst critic.

I’m overwhelmed right now, and I know that the prayers of the righteous availeth much (paraphrasing James 5:16), and therefore, I am humbly seeking prayer from those who are willing.

I absolutely hate having to admit when things are falling apart, but they are. In a nutshell:

1. I am being preyed upon by a predatory student loan servicer by the name of Navient, who each day makes me regret even attempting to get an education. With each passing day my dreams of a career are dashed from bits to smithereens as I am again struggling with this mystery illness that has again reared its ugly undiagnosed head. In addition to the headaches, pain, numbness and tinging, fatigue and muscle twitches in my legs to which I had grown accustomed, I am now plagued with twitching eye muscles and sharp chest pain. ONCE AGAIN I’ll be heading to the doctor and prayerfully will find a physician who is receptive and helpful and does not attempt to write me off as depressed. In the meantime, I had attempted to explain my situation to Navient–that I had stopped working and my family only had one income, and since I had already been paying far more than I could comfortably afford while I was working, could they please work with me and postpone or lower payments until I figured out my capabilities. Further, I asked if we could communicate in written form, as I found myself being more than a little confused when I spoke to their very unhelpful representatives on the phone. I very openly informed them, despite my embarrassment, that whatever is going on with my head is making it difficult for me to process a lot of new information quickly at one time, and talking to people on the phone is a nightmare, so it would be better for me to have something I can read and possibly show to my husband. Do you think they helped me at all? Nope. Instead, they claimed I defaulted on several of my loans–ironically, the ones on which my mom was a co-signer–which confused me, as I assumed my payments were being applied to all of my loans. And now they’re trying to sue. They attempted to take our tax return, but was forced to return it when they discovered that -gasp- my husband had made that money, not me. They were not entitled to it.

Interestingly enough, my federal loans are being handled just fine. However, I am encouraging everyone I know to avoid student loans if possible. Work through school, even if it takes you eight years instead of four. Find scholarships and grants. Because at this point I will never be able to own anything. Even when I was paying on my loans, the balance never went down. It is one of the biggest rackets in America and I don’t understand who decided it was acceptable to skyrocket the cost of tuition while simultaneously making a college education almost unavoidable in the pursuit of a decent career and comfortable life.

2. As I alluded to in #1, Mystery Illness has returned. I don’t know what else to say about it because I don’t even understand what it is. All I know is that it is throwing a serious monkey wrench in my life.

3. This is not necessarily a problem, but it is more of a challenge. Anyone who is a mother knows that our needs and desires often come last in the family.  This is something hopefully all mothers expect, that when we have kids, they take priority. As I said earlier, that is no problem, because I value my time with my children and look forward to see how far my guidance takes them in their lives. However, finding time to read and study my Bible and to make the best of the limited time I have in an atmosphere with the Internet where I can research and post to this blog has been an exercise in futility as of late, and I am frustrated. If I do not read my Bible and some other book regularly; if I am not learning something (I have been wanting to enroll in at least one free course on Coursera or EDX to keep my mind fresh); if I don’t get a consistent fifteen or twenty minutes just to write, there is a noticeable difference in my mood. I want to be my best me for my family, and in order for that to happen I need to find ways to build creative time into my schedule.

Admittedly, a lot of my time reading my Bible these days is not necessarily for leisure. I have to keep up with my Sunday school lessons so I can rightfully divide the Word of truth to my young students, and I am again taking classes through Moody Bible Institute. I have committed myself to keeping my school-aged son engaged in the Word throughout the week by praying with him before school each morning and tucking Bible verses written on his napkin into his lunchbox. But what I would like is the opportunity to flip through the Bible and just immerse myself in…whatever I fancy at that moment. Pray for me.




Life is short and full of trouble.

That is a paraphrased Scripture, or should I say, a chopped Scripture, from one of my Biblical favorites, Job. (Job 14:1 to be exact).

Even though people are in general living longer than ever, with far more people making it to 1oo years and beyond, life still pales in comparison in terms or duration than eternity. And the minute we are born, we are born into trials, tribulation, and strife.

The very minute my baby was born, there was a multitude of people poking and prodding away. And let’s not neglect the overall experience of birth in the first place… yes, it was unpleasant for me, but honestly it had to be worse for her. She had been comfortable and cozy in the warmth of her little bubble, protected from everything, and I’m sure it was a complete jolt to her very existence to be forced out into the world. Now she has to eat, wear clothes, have diapers changed, have her skin cleaned, fingernails clipped, get shots and checkups… a total disruption. I don’t think people should discount the experience of newborns simply because they cannot verbally communicate what they are going through. With that in mind, I am able to respond tenderly to my baby’s wails. I don’t get frustrated. I know she needs something, even if it’s a cuddle as she fusses. She doesn’t know any better.

As we get older and learn–with or without difficulty–life gets even harder. The more we learn, the more we’re expected to learn, and we have to develop more sophisticated ways to store, process and receive information. That is easier for some than others. As kids we may have problems learning, deal with bullies, have fears to overcome, and then–gasp–puberty. Skin changes, sweat and body odors, hair places we never expected, breasts and menstruation for little girls, whatever it is little boys have🙂 , and further development of knowledge and skills. Crushes and dating occur. That REALLY complicates life.

Then we get to be adults. Bills, more bills and then even more. Young adulthood is especially unnerving, which is why I happily tell people I would NEVER want to be 21 again. It was a time of complete confusion, where I assumed I knew more than I actually did. The college years were a time of increasing responsibility, an attempt to find out where and how I fit in the world, and testing personal boundaries, especially as related to consumption of alcohol (and for others, experimenting with drugs) and sex. It is the only period of time I mildly wish I could go back and do all over again (mildly because I know that I learned some valuable lessons then that I am able to pass on to other youths, which makes having gone through those tough times worthwhile).

Adulthood has its highs and lows, and I of course can’t pretend to understand how it feels to be older and/or facing the end of your life. Over the past several years I have watched my uncle’s health consistently go downhill. My Dad and a few of his sisters clamored around Uncle JW to help care for him, as he was a widower and had no children. My Dad concealed his own sickness and continued to care for Uncle JW, sometimes leaving the house huffing and puffing to go tend to his oldest brother. Everyone thought Uncle JW was in poorer health than Dad. I think Dad preferred it to be that way–he didn’t want too much attention or sympathy–but I definitely think when Dad passed away  Uncle JW kept some guilt that he shouldn’t have.

Uncle JW was not the type of guy to just sit and do nothing. He enjoyed his family, so if he was going to sit anywhere, it was going to be over Gramma’s house, eating some of her delicious cooking and playing Spades. He loved traveling to Alabama to see their relatives there. He was very active in church. The last few years of his life, however, were full of trouble on top of trouble. His existence depended on dialysis multiple times a week, and particularly during this last year he was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes. Basically, his life ended awhile ago, but he did not fully depart this life until Thursday, June 30th, which was also the anniversary of my marriage to my husband.

The doctor had summoned the family a few days earlier, so I had been able to go to the hospital and talk to him, hold his hand a little, show him a picture of his newest great-niece, and tell him about Job and his faith. It was then that he had asked as to the whereabouts of his own Bible–it was perched on the windowsill. His doctor, who obviously cared a great deal for him, had said that was how he found Uncle JW’s room initially–he saw the great big black Bible open on the bed. Years before, Uncle JW had purchased a pretty expensive Bible for his doctor. The doctor was visibly emotional about what was going on. It was very refreshing to see a doctor show some humanity.

But I digress. What I saw was the weight of the trouble that Uncle JW had been going through. This once great man, big in stature as I was growing up, nicknamed Big Bull, was probably no more than 120 pounds, if even that. While I was in there, some of the machines that were sustaining his life were being removed, per his request. Fluid was building up in his body faster than the dialysis could handle, and Uncle JW said he was tired.The hospital kept oxygen and morphine going to keep him comfortable. On June 30th, at 11:15 a.m., God decided that his child had had enough and took him home, ending his trouble.

Interestingly, in the presence of several of his siblings, before he lost his ability to communicate, Uncle JW had asked them if my Dad had been there. I am sure they were confused and perhaps thought that he was lapsing into delirium. But he wasn’t. Uncle JW said that Dad had come and talked to him. This made me smile. Even in death, Dad is still comforting and encouraging. I kind of wish I knew what Dad said to Uncle JW. I am pretty sure he calmed any fears Uncle JW had of the unknown. Yes, Uncle JW was a Christian man, so he had to have known he was going to be with the Lord, but let’s be honest–none of us has died before. There is always going to be a huge fear of the unknown. Whatever Dad said must have strengthened Uncle JW. Now they are up there peaceful and whole.

So now I am strengthened. There are things I want to do and they won’t get done if I don’t get up and do them. In the next month, as I continue to heal from having my baby, I AM going to finish my manuscript and submit it to some publishers, preferably those with experience in Christian fiction. In the meantime, I am going to pick up where I left off with my Bible posting. I fell off miserably there😦

RIH Uncle JW!