Thursday, September 8, 2016

Field Trip Fun

We are currently on week 5 of the school year. Our family goes on field trips and special outings every week, and once a month, I also organize a field trip for all the home educating families in our church. On average, these church-wide field trips bring a total of 100-120 people, so we are getting to be quite a large group.

The first of those church field trips was to the Legoland Discovery Center that recently opened up in Arizona. The kids and parents all had a blast. 

Solomon is quite a bit taller than me now...

That's some excellent cell phone quality photography with kids looking straight into the sun... Keeping it real! All the nice-looking photos in this post were not taken by me. I like this one though because it shows how the older ones help out by pairing up with a younger sibling (they pick which one, so it's always changing). 

Stephen was wailing because he couldn't take the coins out of the fountain in the back. He is always wanting to make a buck by raiding fountains, which of course we don't allow. This is the same child who when I was reading Revelation 21 to the kids, got excited about the fountain of the water of life, asking if in Heaven he would finally be allowed to take money out of the fountain.

That little Boaz is stinkin' cute, and he knows it, too. I will admit to having a special soft spot for him because I am reminded of his twinnie in heaven every time I look at him. It's not that I love him more than the other kids, it's just that for the time being, I have to lavish all my love for his brother on him. We all agree that he is an extra special blessing, one we can't imagine life without. 

On Labor Day, we put on a (Don't Go) Back to School party for all the school-aged kids in our church (as well as their younger siblings and parents), where we had a water balloon fight and ice cream at a park near church. Thanks to these balloons, one volunteer helper was able to fill 2,100 water balloons in about 50 minutes using just one hose. I definitely recommend these!

First round: ages 5 and down. We wanted them to have fun without getting hurt by the older kids.

Second round: ages 6-10, boys against girls. The girls clearly seemed to have the upper hand, as they were constantly taking the battle to the boys side, and invading "enemy territory."

Final round: older kids vs. parents. This one was especially fun!

 Look at little Bo trailing behind me. :)
 Boom! I love this picture of my husband and John, though I can't take credit for taking it.

Once the remnants of the broken balloons had been picked up, ther was ice cream for all. Such a fun night!

Making great memories with friends and family is one of the many blessings of homeschooling.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The destructive effects of birth control on marriage

Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons? (I Samuel 1:8)

I wonder if  every mother who has ever read the above verse laughed a little on the inside and thought, "No."
Before you say I must not love my husband very much, consider this: Which mother would ever choose one of her own children over ten of them? So if even Elkanah's own mother, who loved him like only a mother can, would not have chosen him over ten other of her children, I think it's safe to assume that Hannah didn't feel that way, either. And chances are, the same is true for any wife anywhere, at any time in history.

Birth control destroys marriages on many levels. There are detrimental physical effects such as decreased desire and altering women's perception of what they want in a man (until they get off the artificial hormones and discover they can't stand the guy any longer). There are spiritual effects such as reinforcing selfishness and showing a lack of faith in God's provision, both of which are critical components of a failed marriage. There are the unspoken insults to the other spouse and children - I don't want your kids, I don't want any more of you. There is even the very practical aspect that when there are no children in the home, it is far easier and more likely for one spouse to commit adultery. I am not saying it is right, I am just saying statistics show us these are all factors contributing to the downfall of marriage.

Yet, every single day, men are staking their marriage on the wrong assumption that their wife would rather have them than children. I say "men" because in virtually all cases where couples intentionally prevent having children, the driving force behind that decision is the man, or at the very least he is failing to win over his wife to where she would desire children. Virtually all women, especially Christians who love the Lord and trust in his provision, would want nothing more than children if they felt supported and appreciated, and felt that the children were a great source of joy to her husband. If your wife does not want a baby, you have failed to make her feel safe, loved, and supported. She doesn't want children because she doesn't want more of YOU. She doesn't want to hear you gripe more about the finances, or how the kids are a burden, or how you wish you could do XYZ instead. Nobody wants to have kids with a selfish whiner who is a spiritual weakling.

It is no coincidence that permanent birth control measures are virtually always pushed and performed during pregnancy or birth - when people are least likely to want another child. Because newsflash - nobody wants to think about running another marathon while they are already in a race (or just finished one). Nobody wants to think of the next meal when they are still stuffed from the last. Nobody wants another baby right after giving birth. But give it some time, and as the baby grows older, those desires will wake once more, and get stronger and stronger as time goes by.

So men, before you do something permanent like getting a vasectomy or pushing your wife into a tubal ligation, please consider that sooner or later, your wife will come to the painful realization that she would like to have more children, even if you don't. And when she does, she might decide to leave you and try for more children with another man. You certainly wouldn't be the first man to have this happen to you. I have seen this play out in my circle of (Christian!) friends and acquaintances many times. 

Even if your wife doesn't leave you for the express purpose of seeking children elsewhere (and she shouldn't), she is likely to harbor complete disappointment in and resentment toward you, neither of which make fertile ground for a long and happy marriage. Just check Google for the sad stories of wives whose husbands are taking from them the one thing every normal woman wants more than anything else, and you can see how this strain may eventually lead to the destruction of their marriage.

There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough. (Proverbs 30:15, 16)

A harsh truth? Yes. Let the scoffers scoff, and let those who have not yet made these mistakes learn and beware. Can children be a burden on marriage? To the selfish, yes. To those who are not Christians and know nothing of the provision of God, yes. But to the children of God, there is no greater blessing this side of heaven than having kids. Depriving your spouse of God's greatest blessing will severely undermine if not destroy your marriage.

On the flipside, rest assured that nothing will ever make your wife love you more than giving her the children she wants, supporting the family (financially and otherwise), making the necessary sacrifices without grudging, and building her up when she is at the end of her rope.