Tending the flock at home

Exodus 3:1, 7-10 New Living Translation (NLT)

One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro,[a] the priest of Midian.

Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”

We all know the story of Moses and the burning bush. God called an adopted Egyptian, as he was tending his father in laws sheep, to do an extraordinary thing. Moses would be the one to confront Pharaoh and lead God’s people out of Egypt – out of slavery. The entire nation of Israel would be taken through the wilderness by a tongue-tied shepherd who was married…with children.

Moses didn’t abandon his wife and sons to fulfill the call. He didn’t neglect his God given role as husband and father in order to perform miraculous signs in front of Pharaoh. He didn’t choose to lead the people into the Promised Land and ignore his family. Moses went back to Egypt with his wife and children as he carried the staff of God in his hand.

Exodus 4:18-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

18 So Moses went back home to Jethro, his father-in-law. “Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt,” Moses said. “I don’t even know if they are still alive.”

“Go in peace,” Jethro replied.

19 Before Moses left Midian, the Lord said to him, “Return to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you have died.”

20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and headed back to the land of Egypt. In his hand he carried the staff of God.

 

For a time, Exodus 18 tells us, Zipporah and their sons went home to stay with her father (the boys probably had school and soccer practice to attend!). Regardless of the reason, Jethro eventually escorted them back to be with Moses and the people.

Exodus 18:2-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

Earlier, Moses had sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons back to Jethro, who had taken them in. (Moses’ first son was named Gershom,[a] for Moses had said when the boy was born, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” His second son was named Eliezer,[b] for Moses had said, “The God of my ancestors was my helper; he rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh.”) Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, now came to visit Moses in the wilderness. He brought Moses’ wife and two sons with him, and they arrived while Moses and the people were camped near the mountain of God. Jethro had sent a message to Moses, saying, “I, Jethro, your father-in-law, am coming to see you with your wife and your two sons.”

All throughout Scripture, we read about the heroes of faith. Ordinary men, called by God to do extraordinary things:

Noah.

Abraham.

Joseph.

These ordinary men married ordinary women and raised ordinary children.

My husband is an ordinary man. I’m ordinary. Our kids are ordinary. My man, an adopted child of God, has been called to lead His people out of slavery to sin. But in this season of life, the Lord is teaching him to be a shepherd. He’s tending to the flock at home. He’s loving his wife. He’s training our children. And soon, when the Lord speaks to him through a “burning bush,” he will GO, make disciples…with his wife and children.

sheepAre you an ordinary man? Do you have an ordinary wife? (perhaps you shouldn’t answer that!) Are you raising ordinary children? Whether you are called to lead a nation out of bondage, a local church or a small group, you are a child of God and you must GO, make disciples… with your wife and children.

Spend some time with the Great Shepherd. Ask Him: “Lord, am I tending the flock at home? Am I loving my wife? Am I training our children?” If any answer brings conviction from the Holy Spirit, confess, repent, and choose this day to serve the Lord, by serving your family. They are part of your extraordinary call. And one day, as you’re tending the flock, the Lord will tell you it’s time to GO.

1 Timothy 3:1-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be a church leader,[a] he desires an honorable position.” So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife.[b] He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker[c] or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

A church leader must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.[d] Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.

Part of the Family

John 8:31-44 New Living Translation (NLT)

31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”

34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. 37 Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. 38 I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.”

39 “Our father is Abraham!” they declared.

“No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.[a] 40 Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. 41 No, you are imitating your real father.”

They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.”

42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

I am TRYING to consider it pure joy as I face yet another trail in parenting. A trial which I have had the displeasure of repeatedly facing. A trial that I repeatedly faced when I was a child.

Lying.

Why do we lie?

The short answer is pride.

The long answer is we desire something or someone more than God. When we are tempted by the lust of the eyes and flesh we make a decision in our soul to flee or forward march in our own strength to obtain what we want. When we begin suffering the consequences that inevitably follow, we hide, just like Adam & Eve. We cover ourselves. We blame others, or the enemy. But when we are born again, we become part of the family of Christ. He gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit who tells us how to escape temptation. Yet even when we fail to obey, the Spirit helps us return to our Father by convicting us of sin so that we will confess, repent and be restored.

familyThe bible says, “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but discipline will drive it far away.” (Proverbs 22:15) So when I came emotionally undone again today, and yelled again, at our child who lied- again, the Holy Spirit was my helper. “Lord!” I cried, I am soooo tired of battling this issue. Please help me. What can I do?!?”

“Discipline,” He whispered.

“You MUST discipline.”

Then He revealed what was going on in my own heart; foolishness. Not wanting to be inconvienced in putting forth the time, energy and effort to train, I have failed to discipline consistently. I’m not a failure. But I have failed. And in doing so I have foolishly given power to the devil to entrap our child as a slave of sin. Please understand me, our child has chosen over and over to disobey. I am not to blame, nor is the enemy. Children are foolish! They need parents to train them. Otherwise, they will develop rebellious character which imitates the father of lies.

So today I choose to:

-Shut up, get up and armor up.

-Develop a battle plan.

-Swing my double edged sword!

-Teach our children to obey God by obeying me.

-Train our children in the way that they should go.

Because when I do, God promises, it will go well for them and they will not depart from Him when they are older!

 

Autism & ADHD

2 Corinthians 12: 1-10

This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know that I was caught up[b] to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.

That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message,even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So, to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I’ve had several thorns in my flesh for the past 18 years.

Parenting. fullsizeoutput_4db7.jpeg

We have four marvelous children, all sinners, but nevertheless all marvelous. As their mother, I’ve endured numerous hardships while attempting to train them in the way that they should go. It began at conception. Literally.  Conception. Every single one of our dear blessings from the Lord brought suffering from the second God began forming them in my womb. Nausea, vomiting, dry heaving, back aches, muscle spasms, excessive emotional outbursts…and that was just during pregnancy! I’ll spare you the gory details of childbirth. Thank God for epidurals, because the one I gave birth to “naturally” nearly killed me. I hope to never endure that kind of pain again. Ever.

A particularly painful thorn came in the midst of post-partum depression, a job change and moving to a new town with our three little girls.

Autism.

Ours was a typical story of diagnosis. I knew something was different about our daughter, but I was ignored, talked down to, and treated like a child by several doctors. Finally, when she began stimming in the midst of a well child visit, our PA who was fresh outta med school recommended that she be evaluated. No. Really?! Several years, tears and tests later the label was given. I was relieved to finally have concrete evidence from the “experts” so that I could understand how she was made and how to help her be everything God destined her to be!

Another painful thorn came in the midst of a major transition for our family. My husband began traveling with his job, we changed churches, and I was home-managing, home-schooling and ministering through our non-profit, alone. Alone with Jesus, our 3 girls and our son. I’ll admit, I felt ill equipped to parent a boy when he was born. I grew up with an older sister. My dad was a boy- once, and so was my husband, but I had no relational experience with little boys. After the terrible toddler years, our little boy developed into a young man with a very strong will. Destined to be a leader, he struggled to submit to authority. Continually frustrated with his assertiveness, excessive talking, loud noises and non-stop activity, I frequently found myself frustrated, yelling, crying and occasionally stomping through the house in attempts to mold, shape, or pound him into submission.

It didn’t work.

In the middle of 4th grade we hit a wall. A brick wall reinforced with rebar. It was nearly impossible to complete chores or school without a meltdown from both of us. I cried out to the Lord. I cried out to friends and family for advice. Then I sought permission from my husband to begin testing him academically and behaviorally. I knew that something was different. It was hidden below the surface of his actions, but I needed to humble myself and ask for help.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and an Auditory Processing issue.

I was relieved to finally have concrete evidence from the “experts” so that I could understand how he was made and how to help him be everything God destined him to be!

Since the diagnosis late last year, we’ve implemented a few new things into his schedule, but I still have much to learn in order to teach our son. As I continue to seek knowledge for my head, my heart will continue to seek the Lord for wisdom. I’ll need more grace. Much more. And I’ll need discernment to know how to accept the way he’s made and not make excuses for his behavior when its rooted in rebellion.

I’m grateful for the thorns in my life, BIG and small. They’ve inflicted pain and infected me with hardship, but all of them, ALL- of – them have been for my good and for God’s glory. I’m thankful for our “normal” kids (whatever “normal” means!), and our daughter with Autism and our son with ADHD. I consider it pure joy that we’ve faced these trails together with the One who made them so wonderfully complex. 

Psalm 139:13-16

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.