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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

As you may know, I recently posted that our newborn son Kolby was born with a clubfoot. You can read that entry here: https://thefullquiverhomeschoolhouse.wordpress.com/2008/08/28/clubfoot/ 

This is all new territory for my family and I, because we have never had any experience with this condition previously. We had no knowledge base to pull from, so I began doing extensive research to learn as much as I could, as a layperson, to best meet our son’s needs. I have found some very valuable resources that I want to share with you in case you have a loved one affected by clubfoot or know someone who does.

I recommend visiting the following web-sites:

  • http://www.six-feet.com This is an all-inclusive page that speaks to all of the aspects of having a child with the clubfoot birth defect.
  • http://www.ponseti.info/  This page deals with specific aspects of clubfoot treatment and education.

Another fabulous resource that I was so grateful to have suggested to me is this:

Click to join nosurgery4clubfootThis is a wonderful internet-based forum composed of parents who are currently having their children treated, and it is full of wonderful information that can only be gleaned from personal experiences! This group has already been such an incredible blessing to us, even this early in our journey. I HIGHLY recommend it!

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My children have a special tradition that they do with their Grandma every time that a new baby is born into our family. They bake “baby brownies”! All of the children from the oldest to the youngest get to help prepare and decorate brownies to be enjoyed when Mommy, Daddy, and the new baby come home from the hospital. This allows the children the chance to make wonderful memories with their Grandmother while she is caring for them, and teaches them that babies being born is something to celebrate and look forward to!

This is the third time that they have made “baby brownies”, and let me tell you,they keep on getting even tastier every time. After all, they are made with more and more love each time, as another little set of hands gets their turn to help!

Aprons on! Everyone is ready to get started!

Kassidy has got the right idea!

 

Kaitlyn adds some oil.

Here comes Kourtney with the eggs!

Time to start the mixing!

More mixing with Kyle.

Kassidy keeps it going.

Kourtney gets her chance to mix it up.

Okay, time to bring in the big muscles with Kory!

Time for the yummy chocolate frosting!

Kyle is the official frosting-tester…now that is a great job to have!

Ah! The finishing touch…rainbow sprinkles!!!

Here is the final product…delicious!! These did not last long, let me tell you!

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Our sweet little Kolby was born with a clubfoot. Clubfoot is a congenital deformity of the foot, where the foot is twisted inward and downward.This condition is found in only about 1 out of 1000 births, and was most likely caused due to position in my uterus,in his case.

Kolby is being treated currently with a series of casts that are changed weekly to aid in moving his foot by degrees into the proper position. He is currently on his second cast, and due to have his third applied Friday morning. We make weekly trips to the local children’s hospital to have this done. The hope is, that if his casting is successful, we will be able to avoid subjecting him to something much more invasive like surgery.

It is still very difficult however,for me as a mother, to watch him being made uncomfortable for the removal and application of casts. It is my natural inclination to protect all of my children from any kind of pain, so it is hard, even when I know what is being done is an effort to help him. There is nothing quite like watching someone twist your newborn’s foot, or like watching someone saw a cast off of your tiny two-week old! Prayers for Kolby and a mother’s heart would be so appreciated!

I have done a lot of research about clubfoot thus far, and I will continue to do so during this journey. However, if you are reading this, and have any knowledge or experience in this regard please contact me either here in comments or via e-mail! I am always looking for more input and ideas to take care of my son the best way that I can. Thank you!

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Well, it has been a long 6 months but the battle for homeschool freedom in the state of California has ended for now…with success!! After following this case closely since not long after beginning this blog, it is nice to see such a positive culmination of events in this important matter. Below you can read more about this victory for parental rights. Praise the Lord for His obvious hand in this fight!

The following case report can be found at this location:

http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/ca/200808080.asp

Here is the text:

A Great Victory for California Homeschoolers

In a unanimous decision, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District today ruled that California statutes permit home schooling as a species of private school education.

Today’s decision stands in stark contrast to the opinion this same three-judge panel issued in February, which would have made California the only state in the union to outlaw home education had it remained in effect.

It is unusual for an appellate court to grant a petition for rehearing as this court did in March,said HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris,but it is truly remarkable for a court to completely reverse its own earlier opinion. We thank you for your prayers and give God the glory for this great victory.

When the court vacated its earlier decision on March 25, 2008, it invited interested organizations to file friend-of-the-court briefs.I have never seen such an impressive array of people and organizations coming to the defense of homeschooling, said Farris, who was one of the attorneys who argued the case on rehearing along with Alliance Defense Fund attorney, Jeff Shafer who represented the father. The father was also represented by Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation.

California’s three largest homeschool organizations, California Homeschool Network, Homeschool Association of California and Christian Home Education Association joined together in one brief to defend the right of all parents to homeschool. HSLDA, Family Protection Ministries and Focus on the Family also joined in a separate brief. Numerous other private organizations came to the defense of home education as did California’s governor, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction.

We are extremely grateful to all of the organizations who worked tirelessly to protect and preserve homeschooling freedom in California. We are also thankful for you, our members, for your prayers and support during this trying season.

The freedom to homeschool is a precious gift from God. But keeping it free requires vigilance and perseverance. We must continue to work together diligently to preserve this precious freedom in California and elsewhere.

Below are excerpts from the opinion:

We will conclude that: (1) California statutes permit home schooling as a species of private school education; and (2) the statutory permission to home school may constitutionally be overridden in order to protect the safety of a child who has been declared dependent. [FN1: We use the terms home school and home schooling to refer to full-time education in the home by a parent or guardian who does not necessarily possess a teaching credential.]

Although the Legislature did not amend the statutory scheme so as to expressly permit home schooling, more recent enactments demonstrate an apparent acceptance by the Legislature of the proposition that home schooling is taking place in California, with home schools allowed as private schools. Recent statutes indicate that the Legislature is aware that some parents in California home school their children by declaring their homes to be private schools. Moreover, several statutory enactments indicate a legislative approval of home schooling, by exempting home schools from requirements otherwise applicable to private schools.

While the Legislature has never acted to expressly supersede Turner and Shinn, it has acted as though home schooling is, in fact, permitted in California.

While the legislative history of Education Code section 44237 is somewhat complicated, it confirms this interpretation, and also reflects the Legislature’s apparent intent to accommodate home schooling parents.

The most logical interpretation of subsequent legislative enactments and regulatory provisions supports the conclusion that a home school can, in fact, fall within the private school exception to the general compulsory education law.

We therefore conclude that home schools may constitute private schools.

While the interpretation of the private school exemption is ultimately an issue for the courts, we find it significant that education and enforcement officials at both the state and local levels agree that home schools may constitute private schools.

In short, the rule of Turner and Shinn has been discounted as a doctrinal anachronism, and clinging to such precedent would undermine a practice that has been, if not actively encouraged, at least acknowledged and accepted by officials and the public for many years.

Another news story regarding this issue can be found here:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-homeschool9-2008aug09,0,858947.story

The article follows:

Parents may home-school children without teaching credential, California court says

Gov. Schwarzenegger praises the reversal by the 2nd District Court of Appeal as a victory for students and parental rights.

By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 9, 2008

Parents may legally home-school their children in California even if they lack a teaching credential, a state appellate court ruled Friday. The decision is a reversal of the court’s earlier position, which effectively prohibited most home schooling and sparked fear throughout the state’s estimated 166,000 home-schoolers.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had vowed to allow home schooling through legislation if the court did not act, praised the ruling. 
 
“This is a victory for California’s students, parents and education community. This decision confirms the right every California child has to a quality education and the right parents have to decide what is best for their children,” he said. “I hope the ruling settles this matter for parents and home-schooled children once and for all in California, but assure them that we, as elected officials, will continue to defend parents’ rights.”

In February, the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled in a child protection hearing that parents must have a teaching credential to home-school their children. The decision caused a nationwide uproar among home-schoolers, religious activists and others, and the court agreed to reconsider its decision, a move described as unusual but not unprecedented.

The issue arose in part because California’s laws do not specifically address home schooling, unlike those of at least 30 other states.
Friday’s ruling essentially upheld the position of the state Department of Education and state Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, who have traditionally allowed home schooling as long as parents file paperwork with the state establishing themselves as private schools, hire credentialed tutors or enroll their children in independent study programs run by charter or private schools or public school districts.

“As head of California’s public school system, it would be my wish that all children attend public school, but I understand that a traditional public school environment may not be the right setting for each and every child,” he said. “I recognize and understand the consternation that the earlier court ruling caused for many parents and associations involved in home schooling. It is my hope that today’s ruling will allay many of those fears and resolve much of the confusion.”

The court also said that the right of parents to home-school their children can be overridden if a child is in danger.

Home-schooling families celebrated the ruling.

“We’re ecstatic, happy and thrilled,” said Loren Gould of Westchester, who teaches her son, Logan, 7, at home. “He gets to keep his love of learning alive. . . . The world is his classroom.”

The case stemmed from the Long family of Lynwood, who were accused of mistreating some of their eight children. All of the children are or had been enrolled at Sunland Christian School, where they would occasionally take tests, but they were taught in their home by their mother.

Lawyers appointed to represent the two youngest children had asked the court to require them to attend a public or private school full time so adults could monitor their well-being. The family court declined, but the children’s lawyers appealed.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled in February that Sunland officials’ occasional monitoring of the Longs’ methods of teaching were insufficient to qualify as being enrolled in a private school. Because Mary Long does not have a teaching credential, the family violated state laws, the ruling said.

The Longs, the Sunland school and others appealed, and the appellate panel agreed to revisit the ruling. That panel heard arguments in June at a freewheeling hearing attended by at least 45 attorneys representing disparate groups. Democratic and Republican politicians, religious and secular home-schoolers, and liberal and conservative legal scholars all weighed in, saying the court had erred.

Phillip Long, who has said the family chose to home-school the children because of their strong Christian beliefs, said Friday that he doesn’t believe the court was swayed by the legal arguments.

“Only one thing swayed this court — politics,” he said. “This court was under pressure. . . . They did it to protect themselves and their reputation. Those judges want to be Supreme Court judges, they want to move up. They’re not going to do anything to upset their careers.”

Though the appellate court upheld the right of parents to home-school, it did direct the family court to revisit whether the Longs should be allowed to continue to home-school their children.

It’s unclear what will happen, because in July the family court terminated its jurisdiction over the family’s children, though the children’s lawyers are appealing that decision. Long is confident he will prevail.

“Educating your children in your own home preexisted these buffoons that sit on the 2nd Circuit,” he said. “It preexisted this state. It preexisted us. Parents have been teaching their own children since the beginning.”

California does little to enforce the education department’s provisions and insists that doing so is the local school districts’ responsibility.

In addition, state education officials say some parents home-school their children without the knowledge of any entity, making them virtually impossible to locate.

Home-schoolers and government officials have largely accepted this murky arrangement, but the court faulted the Legislature for failing to clarify the rules.

“It is important to recognize that it is not for us to consider, as a matter of policy, whether home schooling should be permitted in California. That job is for the Legislature. It is not the duty of the courts to make the law; we endeavor to interpret it,” Justice H. Walter Croskey wrote in a ruling signed by the two other members of the panel. “Our first task, interpreting the law of California, is made more difficult in this case by legislative inaction.”

To that end, the court said additional requirements for home-schoolers in other states such as standardized testing or home visits should be considered by the California Legislature.

“Given the state’s compelling interest in educating all of its children . . . and the absence of an express statutory and regulatory framework for home schooling in California, additional clarity in this area of the law would be helpful,” according to the ruling.

Statements such as those irked some home-school organizations that are weary of regulation, but were supported by constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of UC Irvine’s law school, who urged the court to overturn its initial ruling that banned most home schooling.

“I believe it’s the right of parents, if they chose, to be able to home-school their children. That’s absolutely their right,” he said. But “the state has an important interest [in] making sure all children are adequately educated.”

seema.mehta@latimes.com


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Kaitlyn and Kyle with their arts&crafts painting projects!

Kaitlyn, Kyle, and Kourtney check out some other projects.

 

 

Kassidy thinks that the fair is lots of fun!

Kory enjoys one of the free coloring books they gave away.

Kaitlyn with her tree poster project.

Kyle with his tree poster project.

 

Kassidy and Kory like their flags!

Kaitlyn found stickers, candy, and a flag!

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Sometimes you run across a sentence or two that really sums up how you feel or what you are thinking in a succinct way. When this happens to me, I like to kind of collect them so that I can refer back to them when a situation arises where I can use them. Here are three of my favorite quotes regarding children that I would like to share.

  • “If we continue to send our children to Caesar for their education, we need to stop being surprised when they come home as Romans.”-Voddie Baucham
  • “The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing. But in our culture, we apply for a curse and reject a blessing. Something is terribly wrong with this picture.” – Doug Phillips
  • “Kids posess no inborn DNA mechanism which signals them, at age four or five, that it’s time to leave their homes to be institutionalized in government holding pens.”
    -Dr. Richard A. Jones

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Kaitlyn

 

Kyle

Kourtney

Kassidy

 

Kory

 

Thank you Jesus for the gift of our children!

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Here is the latest update regarding the important legal case regarding home education in the state of California. It is an encouraging step towards a hopefully positive outcome for parental rights and homeschooling rights in our nation.

The source for this article is located here:

http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/ca/200807110.asp

Read more below:

Favorable Development in the California Homeschooling Case

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
Thank you for your continued prayers for the California homeschooling case, In re Rachel L. Last night, Mr. L’s attorney in the juvenile court reported to Home School Legal Defense Association that the juvenile court judge terminated jurisdiction over the two youngest L children in a hearing held on July 10, 2008. Mr. L is represented by Gary Kreep, who is the director of the California-based United States Justice Foundation, which has long been a close ally of HSLDA and homeschoolers in California.

Two years ago, the children’s court-appointed lawyers had asked that the two children be ordered to attend a school outside the home. That request became the basis for the court’s February ruling that homeschooling is illegal in California. The appellate court later vacated its own decision and set the case for rehearing. Oral argument on the rehearing was held on June 23, 2008 and a decision could be handed down at any time.

Mr. L’s appellate attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund will be making the appellate court aware of this new development immediately. They will move to dismiss the petition pending in the court of appeal on the ground that the petition is now moot. In other words, the children are no longer under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Therefore, any decision by the appellate court based on the two-year-old petition could not be enforced against the L children.

“This is a significant favorable development toward preserving homeschooling freedom in California,” said Mike Farris, Chairman and Founder of HSLDA.

Keep praying!

Sincerely,

J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

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Here are some miscellaneous shots of some of our children from a recent birthday celebration we enjoyed. I love having family time! We can make special memories that will last a lifetime.

Little girls love to play with ribbons. Kourtney is no exception!

Mommy helps Kassidy learn to read the card first!

Kaitlyn, Kyle, and Kassidy hanging out and having fun.

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My previous entry featured the series “Embracing God’s Gift of Children”, that has been the topic this week, on the radio program “Revive Our Hearts” with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Part 2 of this series addresses God’s provision for families and the children He blesses them with. It is a good reminder that if we trust the Lord with all of the aspects of our life, even when it is a counter-culture decision, that God will supply all of our needs. We do not need to be afraid to obey the Lord, He is always in control! You can read more below:

The transcript for this interview can be found at this location:

http://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/roh/today.php?pid=9956

More follows below:

God’s Provision for Children 
Series: Embracing God’s Gift of Children

Tuesday, July 8 2008

 
Leslie Basham: Holly Elliff says, “Don’t be quick to assume God doesn’t want you to have children.”

Holly Elliff: I do think we’re seeing a large number of Christian (committed Christian) couples who are saying, “We will not have children so that we can be more free to minister.”

First of all, I would love to be able to sit down with them across the table and do for them what someone did for us, which is simply to challenge us to pick up God’s Word, putting aside what we know in our culture, but to simply get to the truth of God’s Word and say, “What does God say about this area?”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Tuesday, July 8.

Have you ever felt limited in the size of your family—by the size of your budget or your ability to parent? Today Nancy will continue our conversation with a pastor’s wife and mother of eight, Holly Elliff. She’s seen God’s faithful provision time and again. Let’s listen.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’ve been talking this week with one of my very special friends, a dear prayer partner. Her name is Holly Elliff. Holly is a pastor’s wife. She and Bill are the parents of eight children.

We’ve been talking this week about a difficult and controversial subject, but we believe such an important one, and that is this whole matter of childbearing. Holly, welcome back to Revive Our Hearts.

Holly: Thanks.

Nancy: You’ve been telling us something of your story and how after the birth of your fourth child, thinking at that point that your quiver was probably going to be full, how the Lord challenged you to go to the Word and to evaluate, based on the Scripture, not based on the culture around you, why it was that you’d come to that conclusion and what it was that was the Lord’s viewpoint on children and on childbearing and on these practical issues of life.

Holly, it’s been interesting to me to hear you say a couple of times that you were doing what God called you to do. You’re talking there about the bearing and nurturing of life. I so appreciate hearing that perspective because I think so many women in our culture have lost sight of the biblical viewpoint that God has given to women, a distinctive call to be bearers and nurturers of life.

I think about Paul saying to Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 5 that the younger widows, he’s speaking of particularly, were to marry, to bear children, to keep house. He’s talking about not just widows but the role and the calling of women, that a huge part of their purpose in life is to be helpers to their husbands and bearers and nurturers of children.

In fact, he goes so far as to say in a passage that admittedly is complex, but in chapter 2 of 1 Timothy, that women, in some sense, are saved through child bearing. We know from the rest of Scripture he’s not talking about their eternal salvation, but in that same passage he talks about Timothy being saved through preaching.

I think what he’s saying is Timothy’s God-given role is to be a preacher, and that he would demonstrate his salvation and his perseverance and his faith through doing what God had called him to do. Likewise, women generally are called by God to give birth to children, to rear up children who have a heart for God and that in so doing they demonstrate the genuineness of their profession of faith, that they demonstrate they are committed and submitted to God’s will and plan for their lives.

Holly, I guess what concerns me is that so many women today are making choices that they are making for some of the reasons that you described, which really do in many cases come back to “What do I want? What’s best for me?” Reasons that are selfish, rather than saying, “Why did God put me here on this earth? What was God’s purpose in creating me? How can I best fulfill that purpose?”

As you read through the Old Testament, it’s so exciting to see that God is the giver of life. He’s the Creator of life. A big part of God’s means of taking the redemptive story and Gospel to the world is through the willingness of godly parents to have a godly seed, to raise up children who will take the Gospel to the world.

One of the concerns is that this world is so violent; it’s so evil. “I don’t want to bring children into this kind of a world.”

There’s an understandable fear that I think many mothers have as they look at the world around us today. But the challenge, I think, for women of God is to not give in to that fear but to accept this calling to bring forth children into the world and to trust that God is going to use those children to be a light, to be salt, to be different, to be difference-makers and to be the ones who deal with the issues facing the world and take the light of Christ’s Gospel into the world.

So really, the problems we’re concerned about, in part God’s way of addressing those issues is to say, “Women, are you willing, and couples, are you willing to bring forth children into this world who will be part of God’s solution, part of God’s means of taking the Gospel into this very dark world?”

I know you, Holly. I’ve known you for a lot of years. I think you’re a remarkable woman. I thought that when you had fewer children, and I really think it now.

I can just imagine some women if they could know you thinking, “Well, you’re just a superwoman. You can handle having all those children.” You do seem like a pretty calm person. Of course, I don’t live in your home. I don’t know. Are things just always calm at the Elliff household?

Holly: There are a lot of words I would use to describe the Elliff household. “Calm” would not be one of them. I don’t know if it’s because I was a speech pathologist or what, but all of our children basically were born talking. They are all talkers. They are all lively children. Half of them are boys. It is never calm.

Nancy: I’m the oldest of seven children. I can think back to times around our dinner table when I would look around and realize that everyone was talking loudly at the same time. I have no idea who was listening, but we were all talking loudly at the same time.

You’d see these old TV programs with people with lots of children and they all just spoke one at a time and it was all so picture perfect. Our family just didn’t look that way. It sounds like yours doesn’t either.

Holly: I have known a family whose children sat in little chairs and never spoke unless they were spoken to. I wish I could say that’s what mine is like, but it is not.

Nancy: So if someone is saying you’ve just got exceptional ability to handle this kind of pressure but another woman says, who’s got three toddlers right now, “I just could not face that kind of pressure. I couldn’t deal with it. I’m not like you, Holly Elliff.”

Holly: Well, I would remind her that I did not start out with eight children. I had one at a time. We actually thought twins would be kind of fun but God never chose to give us twins. So we have received our children one at a time.

What I have found is that with those children comes corresponding grace to nurture those children, to love those children. I am not saying by any means that that is always easy or that I do not struggle with the realities of laundry and food and dishes.

We have home schooled for many years. I remember sitting down with Billy one night and saying, “Okay, I can do school and laundry, or I can cook and do school, or I can clean the house and do school or laundry. Which ones would you like for me to actually get accomplished because there is no way I can do all of these things.”

So we really did talk about what things were going to be the most important to us. I really was a little bit of a perfectionist in the early days of my married life. That has so far gone out the window that I am just grateful now if everyone has clean underwear and if towels get folded.

I have had to release areas that could no longer be the priority in my life, ask the Lord constantly for wisdom. I’m so grateful for James 1. The funny thing is I memorized that in college, not knowing why I would need it later.

Nancy: What part of James 1?

Holly: James 1:2-5 where it says,

When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your life don’t resent those things as intruders but welcome them as friends. Realize they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. Let that process go on until you become mature and complete and lacking in nothing. And if along the way if any of you lacks wisdom he has only to ask of God who gives to all men generously without making them feel foolish or guilty.

I cannot tell you how many times I have stood in my laundry room with the door closed, reminding God that He has promised me wisdom, that He has promised to give me what I need when I need it as I raise my children.

But what I say to that mother of three, has this been simple or easy? No.

Nancy: I’m so glad that you’ve shared with us that you’ve had to make some choices and that you don’t do everything.

I think one of the things I’ve watched as I have had some friends with many children and some of them home schooling and at a season of life that’s very challenging. I’ve watched some of those women really end up looking very frazzled and continually frustrated because they are trying to do everything in this season of life.

You’re saying that that mom doesn’t have to do everything, that everything doesn’t have the same priority.

Holly: I do think God can give wisdom on what really matters.

I was talking with a young wife the other day on the phone and she said, “My husband is so frustrated because I have a new baby and I can’t get everything done.”

I said, “I want you to ask him what are the two things that he really wants done, and then you make a commitment to get those two things done.”

She came back the next day and she said, “Okay, he wants food and he wants to be able to see the countertops in the kitchen. That really bugs him when the kitchen is dirty.”

I said, “Okay, you focus on those two things. If you can get more done, that’s great.” If you are a student of your husband enough that you know what his hot buttons are, then you can meet those needs.

My husband could care less if we eat peanut butter and jelly for dinner. If when he comes home he can sit down in his recliner and my children look mostly normal—they’re clothed. I did call home yesterday at one point and found out that my three youngest had a mattress in the front yard of my neighbor and were sliding down the mattress into the street.

So just because I have been doing this for many years does not mean it always happens perfectly. But you know, my life is real. What I have found in the midst of my very real life is that God truly is who He says He is and that He really is sufficient.

Nancy: Holly, let me back up a minute to a woman who called you recently, the young mother. I think it’s so great that as a young mother there was a woman she could call and could say, “This is hard. I’m struggling. Could you give me some counsel?”

I don’t know if you yet consider yourself an older woman. I’m not sure at what point we qualify. But you’re certainly older than that woman. And really you’re providing practical encouragement and assurance and counsel for her just out of your life experience. You’re fulfilling your God-given responsibility as an older woman to be teaching younger women.

Speak to the younger women about the importance of having an older woman in their life that they can call and who can provide that kind of encouragement for them.

Holly: Well, I really would encourage young moms especially when you have several toddlers and a busy husband . . . Motherhood can be a very lonely place when you are home all day with those children and no one is speaking coherent English to you. You do start feeling like your brain is mush, like you could not have an intelligent conversation if somebody was there to talk to.

What I find is that our society tends to isolate us and that if we are not careful we really do miss a lot of the benefit that God’s Word says we are to have through older women teaching younger women.

Nancy: Of course, now we don’t have the extended family, the aunts and the grandmothers. So women do tend to be more isolated.

Holly: Right, and we do tend to go in our houses, close our doors. I would encourage those women to look for a role model in their church or in a Bible study they’re in, to look for a godly older mother. It doesn’t have to be a lot older, but somebody just further down the road than you are who can encourage you toward godliness, who can encourage you and remind you of the truth.

Many times we know the truth in our head but there are moments when we’re so overwhelmed with our circumstances, we just need somebody to hold our arms up a little bit like Aaron and Hur did.

Nancy: Maybe just somebody to say, “You’re going to make it.”

Holly: And somebody to just remind us that every day will not feel like this day does. If today has been crazy, tomorrow won’t be quite as crazy perhaps, and that God really is still on His throne and knows what my life is like and has provision for it.

Nancy: It’s kind of easy sitting here in this studio to talk about those things. But I’m thinking about some of the questions that those who’ve been listening to this program may be asking. For example the woman who says, “We just can’t afford to have any more children. My husband doesn’t have a great income, and I can’t work full time because I’m taking care of these children. How are we going to afford having all these kids?”

Holly: Obviously, this area is very counter-culture. Our culture is so centered on materialism, on what we need.

Nancy: Or think we need.

Holly: Or think we need, or what we want. What we have found as we have raised our children on a pastor’s salary—my husband does have a secure income and we’re very grateful for that. But even so, our kids do not have everything they want.

Really, when you look in Scripture at what God says are needs, there are very few things that we actually need. There are many things we want.

So what we tell our kids is, “If there’s something you really want, then you ask God to provide that for you.” There’s nothing wrong with our children seeing God as the provider of the good things that we have.

We are not people who started putting away money with our first child to finance college educations. So we really have had to trust God.

Billy encouraged our older children to start praying for God to provide a certain amount of money. Totally unexpectedly we got a letter in the mail from an aunt who never had children of her own, recently went to be with the Lord, and provided the money we need for our son to go to college—and totally out of the blue.

It was so wonderful to be able to go to our children and say, “Look at this. This is an avenue we never even dreamed existed.” A woman who lived very simply but chose to do this.

God has illustrated to our children time and time again that when there are genuine needs there, He will meet those needs. It is very contrary to Scripture to assume that God would give us children and then not give us the ability to provide basic needs for those children.

Nancy: Holly, listening to that story I’m reminded of the fact that those who don’t have children, either because they’re single or because, as married couples, God has not blessed them with children, that we’re a community, we’re a Body.

We’re a family and there are roles that those of us who don’t have children can have in being an encouragement and a help, perhaps in the financial area as that aunt was. Perhaps in help with time, with encouraging those mothers who have their hands full with all those children.

This is a way that the Body can be a Body and encourage each other.

Let me raise another question that I hear sometimes. How old were you with your last child?

Holly: I was 43 when I had Jessica.

Nancy: Did you get some people saying to you, “After 40, there’s a higher risk of . . . ”?

Holly: Actually, it is amazing what I had even Christian physicians say to me. One doctor was compelled to read me this long list of things that could happen when you had children into your 40’s. At the end of that list I said to him—and this was someone I knew fairly well—but I challenged him as he dealt with women, not to place fears in their heart that God did not put there, that man has put there, and that if they are trusting God to give them their children and God allows them to get pregnant at 40 or 43 or 45 . . .

I was not the oldest mother on the floor. There was a woman there who was 46 and having twins when I had Jessica. So I felt really good about that, that I was not the oldest mother there.

What I have found is that we really have adopted or accepted a great deal of the world’s philosophy in this whole area and that it’s really very simple in Scripture if we will just look at the truth of God’s Word and trust Him.

Nancy: Okay, help the woman who says, “I want to have more children but my husband isn’t for that. He’s not open to that.” How do you encourage that woman?

Holly: I talked with a young gal in our church a couple of weeks ago who has one child. Her husband has decided that’s all they can afford. She desperately wants more children. I encouraged her first of all to go to her husband and make an appeal and share her heart honestly with him.

Scripture says we can always ask God to give us the desires of our heart and then leave the outcome to Him. So I encouraged her to go to her husband and share her heart honestly and then if her husband still feels very strongly about this, then it becomes an issue that she takes up with the Lord who is her intercessor.

If she goes before Christ she can continue to tell Him the desire of her heart and even to ask Him to change her husband’s heart because she’s praying something that’s in accord with Scripture. She’s not praying outside God’s will. She’s praying about something that God loves. So she has the freedom to go before God and say, “This is something I desire. Would You allow me to have more children?”

Nancy: I read an article recently in a major Christian women’s magazine by a woman who was a married woman in her thirties who was explaining why she and her husband have chosen childlessness.

She said when she was thirteen years old, she looked around and, for various reasons including all the evil in the world and she saw these moms with all these kids and they seemed so trapped. She just came to the conclusion that she did not want children.

Now as a Christian woman she’s writing an article in a major publication telling why choosing childlessness may be God’s plan for some women.

Do you find that there are younger women today thinking more this way? Is there a trend in this?

Holly: Well, I do think for about thirty years that we have been listening to voices other than Scripture to give us our philosophy in this area. I think it is real challenging for Christians to say, “Where did I get my beliefs in this area? Why do I believe this? Is it biblical?”

I was astounded to look back on my own life and realize that I had not even considered, “Is this biblical?” up until the point where we began to be challenged by God to do that. I do think in talking with my daughters and their friends and their married friends, we’re seeing a large number of Christian (committed Christian) couples who are saying, “We will not have children so that we can be more free to minister.”

Nancy: What do you say to that?

Holly: First of all, I would love to be able to sit down with them across the table and do for them what someone did for us, which is simply to challenge us to pick up God’s Word and to examine it, in light of Scripture, putting aside what we know in our culture, but to simply get to the truth of God’s Word and say, “What does God say about this area? Is there any way I can justify what I believe biblically?”

If I can’t—as a Christian if I cannot prove what I believe biblically, then there is a problem with my belief system.

Nancy: So we’re really coming back to what we’ve been saying all week and that is, in this area as in every area of life as the children of God, we must go to the Scripture, let the Word of God be our ultimate authority and then surrender ourselves to His sovereign plan and will in our lives, to embrace what He says about children, about our role as women and how our lives are to center around marriage and family and why that is part of His redemptive purpose in this world.

As we surrender to that plan, God may or may not have marriage for us. And the woman who surrenders her child bearing to the Lord, He may or may not give her more children. He may not give her any children.

So the key issue becomes, “Do I really trust God to make those decisions for my life?” In spite of my fears or things I may not understand, am I really willing to let Him be the Lord?

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been talking with Holly Elliff, mother of eight, about God’s provision—His provision of time, of patience and of money. They’ve been talking about a true counter-cultural subject—allowing God to determine the size of your family.

 

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