Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Beginning of a New Chapter



On January 7th, 2012 at 11:00 am, Kit and I got married in the same church that my parents and grandparents were married in. :-) We have been married for almost 5 weeks now and it has already been a learning and growing experience. I hope to blog more about the different issues I face as a new wife soon, though I feel that I could use advice more than giving advice in this area... so if anyone has any ideas or tips for me... they would be greatly appreciated. :-)

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the best day of my life. :-)

Getting ready for the big moment :-)


Dad walked me down the isle, Pastor Walker did the sermon and Dad did the vows... then Pastor Walker pronounced us husband and wife and...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

An Important Announcement

My apologies, ladies, I have shamefully neglected this blog as of late. And now I am getting on just to let you know that my courtship has recently entered the new stage of engagement. We will be getting married in about three months, Lord willing. Kit and I both greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers. :-) It is our wish to continue to glorify God as we work towards our marriage.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A New Chapter

This post is a bit of a deviation from my normal kind. I am here to inform you ladies of a recent change in my life and ask for your prayers for guidance.

The Lord has been working in my life in many ways and - in the past year - has blessed me with more health and enjoyment of life than I would ever have thought possible. Out of these blessings (of feeling up to doing things again), He has brought many new friends. I am very happy to say that at the end of this past March one of my dear friends and I entered into courtship.

Courtship is not engagement or betrothal, but simply the time wherein two friends commit - not to each other - but to seeking the Lord's will regarding their relationship with each other. There is more openness and trust, but no more physical benefits than a close friendship. A successful courtship is one that determines God's will for the relationship.

Needless to say, this is a very exciting development, and I am enjoying the journey of getting to know this man better. Please do pray for us and our families - that God would bless us with wisdom and strength to do His will and that we would bring Him honor and glory through this relationship.

I appreciate your prayers! :-)


Monday, April 4, 2011

Questions About Struggles

Last Thursday I received this comment on one of my posts. I have sat down several times to respond to it, but it raises some difficult questions and I feel rather out of my league. If any of the older women (or young ladies) have some loving help to give in the comment section I would greatly appreciate it. :-) My attempt at a response is below her comment. :-)

Hello, Joy & All Readers
First of all I just want to say God Bless you and every person that shared their thoughts on this blog! I believe it’s truly important to have these informative blogs that help give guidance to young women, or men; especially in regards to topics like this one.
My name is Beatrice, and I’m 20 years young. I came to God about 2 years ago now. I was raised in the church but strayed for the most part of my teens and came back to Him, only by His mercy; grace; love and will for my life. And I thank Him for that every day. I’ve dealt with low self- esteem; sexual immorality; abuse (both mental and physical) and a number of other things. And I thank God that through all of my faults He’s forgiven me, and forgotten my past and truly helped me to forgive myself, and forget my past as well.
The reason I share all of this with you is I believe it’s important to let you know a little bit about me. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this but it’s been my understanding that through our faith in Jesus Christ we are all a family and apart of one body. So, I feel I can look to you all as my sisters; empty vessels I can trust God to use; to shine any wisdom; knowledge; truth; or any insight He might want myself or any other future reader to receive.
Since I’ve come to God I’ve fallen in Love with Him in a way I never even dreamt possible. He’s truly my best friend and I believe I can tell Him any and everything. And often I’ll wait for His responses to anything I might seek Him for... but in this particular case I’m truly finding it a little difficult because I find myself doing things that I normally wouldn’t. I always bring every inappropriate thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ whenever I realize an inappropriate thought has entered my mind. And at first it was a little difficult for me to remember to bring my thoughts into captivity, and at the same time it was a little embarrassing, because I wasn’t use to bringing these thoughts not only to my attention but to Gods as well. But I consider myself blessed that I was directed to do that because it’s only made my relationship with Him better. So having said all of that (I’m sorry if I’m dragging this out by the way, I’ve never done anything like this before =D) my problem is that I feel this method that I’ve used time and time again isn’t proving itself to be as effective as it is in mostly all other areas of my life where I still use it. And I feel that’s where my worrying is stemming from.

Right now I am worried about two main things. (And I’m going to do my best to make this as short as possible for your convenience and the convenience of other readers =S) I started liking a friend of mine that’s a guy because I wouldn’t stop hearing from everyone including himself just how cute we’d be together. I constantly heard promises of us being married (mind you this is after we both came to God) and how good we would be together. And I distinctly remember shutting those thoughts down immediately. For two main reasons; 1st he and I had a sorted past when we were still of the world; 2nd I didn’t want anyone (family/friend or not) to presume they knew what God’s will was for my life no matter how harmless they thought their comments were (there is power in the tongue and I had an eerie feeling about that notion whenever it would come up) but for months people (both family and friends) kept putting that notion of my friend and I being together, out into my sphere of influence. And as I mentioned earlier I had low-self esteem issues growing up, and only recently started truly dealing with it and getting to the root of the cause. (I would draw to those who would show interest in me; not all of the time but 80% of the time I did and maybe 20% of the time I didn’t) So before you knew it feelings for my guy friend manifested and no matter how long I would pray, fast, and plea to God to take them away, they wouldn’t budge. Months later when I was questioned by him to see if I liked him; I found out he’d only been saying that he thought it would be cute to see us together; but didn’t really mean it (mind you he said he didn’t mean it after I’d taken a bold step with God and decided to shave my hair off for reasons He’s still explaining to me to this very day. The decision to take that step was mainly to honour how God sees me over the eyes of everyone else, including myself. I believe God needed to start a healing process and He knows how to heal each and every one of us in our own unique way). Nonetheless you can imagine my heartbreak; anger; and frustration. I hadn’t asked for this, I didn’t want to feel this way, and about my friend that I didn’t even like in the first place; at times it was so depressing.
But through all of that God released loads of peace and happiness into my life, so much so that after some months had passed I truly felt healed of the heartbreak I thought I’d experienced. And then the unthinkable happened... the feelings returned. And they couldn’t have come at a worse time.
This leads me to the pinnacle of my blog response... I’m working at a new job and I realized only a few shifts in that this particular job isn’t right for me. (I couldn’t have come to this realization at a better time, because this past January 2011 I just started training in my schools post secondary culinary arts program. And I’m sure you’ve already guessed that the job I got was in of course a kitchen... =D)

About a couple weeks after I realized that I do in fact love to cook food, there is something very satisfying about the end result, and a snapshot that just go hand in hand; however to pursue this as a career where I’d have to make further financial investments into the culinary institute I was currently registered in for semesters that would follow my current one... that I just can’t see happening.
So as you can imagine I’ve found myself in a sticky situation because, I want to go where ever I believe God wants me; trying to be obedient to any of His calls is of the upmost importance to me. Being obedient to His directions has helped not only me but others as well. So with faith I’d like to believe that I’ve been following Him according to His will for my life; trusting that even through my mistakes He will still receive the glory from the decisions I make unto Him.

As a result I’m a progressive dropout student; with a willingness to go or do anything I believe is Gods will for my life; however this is my actual conundrum... this place I started working at has a male line cook I find myself attracted to... and the upsetting thing is he’s not even a godly man, and from what I’ve gathered he’s not trying to be. And you’d think this would probably help me loose the attraction towards him almost instantaneously, but it’s not and it’s troubling me a lot because along with that about a week and a half ago I had an inappropriate thought about my co-worker and myself, and as God is my witness that hasn’t happened to me in almost 2 years....
I believe I handled that specific situation as best as I could, because I confessed my troubles to my sister and brother and asked them to pray for me so that I might be healed. And I just thank God with all of my heart because almost instantly it was like there was a block on my mind; like a wall separating my thoughts. Placing the improper thoughts on a side where they seemed blurry and couldn’t enter into my mind; it was almost like the thought was forgotten, you know?
But anyhow now I’m not quite sure what to do. My feelings for my guy friend seemed to have returned, accompanying the new feelings I have for my co-worker. And I’ve been seriously considering asking for a transfer; and that bothers me for 3 distinct reasons. 1st I was just hired and I don’t like the idea of asking to move to another location when they hired me at this specific location because they needed me there; and I believe God placed me there for a reason. 2nd I feel like I’d mainly be transferring because I’m trying to get away from this individual; which is madness because I shouldn’t be runny from anything; God didn’t give me the spirit of fear, but of peace and a sound mind. And the 3rd reason I’m troubled is this new location I’d be asking for the possible transfer to is sort of close to my original residence in another city; and they haven’t opened yet; they’ll be opening anywhere from a few weeks to a couple months maybe.

I can’t believe how much I wrote I’m so sorry. I really just wanted to make sure I gave you as much information as possible; so that it would help with whatever advice you feel led to give me; or anyone else for that matter. I just want to thank you again for taking the time to read all of this, and I hope God gives you a word that you can pass on to me, or anyone else in my situation that will help through what I can only assume is a growing process.
Take Care and God Bless; I hope to hear from you soon.

P.s this is my email address just in case... Beat_rice_13@hotmail.com


Dear Beatrice,

First I'd like to say thank you so much for everything that you shared! :-) I (and I'm sure everyone else who has had the opportunity to read about your experiences) feel honored by your trust and sincerely hope and pray that God will use us to bless and help you!

That being said, I cannot tell you what you should do in your specific situation - only God can do that and it does sound as though you are seeking His will. However, I can share some Bible verses and general principles that may be helpful to be reminded of.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." - Philippians 4:6-9

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" Ephesians 6:11-28

I don't know what other posts on this blog that you have read, but anything else that I would say to you would be included in my post "Lily Among Thorns - Part 2"

In that post you can be directed to other places where I've shared the things that have helped me in the area of mental purity. The most important thing that I would say is to keep your eyes on God through reading His Word and spending time alone in prayer with Him.

My dear sister, you have done the right thing in seeking Godly accountability, praying, and in being constant in the battle of your heart and mind. It will always be a battle, but by God's grace you will prevail - through Christ we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). Just remember that just because it is a struggle does not mean that it is a sin - Jesus Christ was sinless, and yet was faced temptation. It is what we do with the temptation that is important and will decide if we are keeping in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26 ) or the flesh.

One last Bible verse that I would like to share with you is 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
"And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Continue to turn to the Lord in your weakness, that His strength may be perfected in you! :-)

I will be praying for you, for encouragement, wisdom, and strength! May God bless you! If you think of it, I would love to hear from you - how you are doing and any updates on your current situation.

in Christ's love,
Joy

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

School - Public or Home?

I appreciate everyone's responses to my request in the post "Public School vs Home". I have chosen one person out of each of the four categories that were submitted. One young lady was exclusively home schooled; two were exclusively public schooled but graduated with very different views, and one was public schooled for her early education and was home schooled for her high school years.

*EDIT* Technical difficulties are a thing of the past - all of the essays are now available on this post. :-)


Benefits of Homeschool over Public School
By Lieren S.

Hello! My name is Lieren S., I am 16 years old, and have been homeschooled all my life. I do not know very much about public school, but based on what little I do know, I am continually grateful to my parents for their decision to homeschool me! As the oldest of 11 children, I have had the great blessing not only of being homeschooled myself, but also of helping to homeschool my younger siblings. Yes, I have sometimes thought that it would be fun to go to school, and it might be - for about a day. Because I am homeschooled, I have been able to pursue many things that I would not have had time for in public school, such as filmmaking, baking, and helping my father in his self-employed business. Below are several reasons why I believe homeschooling is superior to public school.

1. Homeschooling is consistent with the Bible.
Look up in your concordance, and tell me where you find the word “education.” It is never mentioned in the Bible. Broaden that to “wisdom”, “knowledge” and “understanding”, and you will find a host of verses - even the entire book of Proverbs - dedicated to the impartation of wisdom. Perhaps the most common verse used to support homeschooling is Deuteronomy 6:6-9:
“And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently into thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
Obviously, it would be very difficult to obey this verse in the public school system!

2. There is little to no negative peer pressure.
The common saying “if all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?” seems funny at first, but in reality it is a very important question. Do you care more about what your friends think of you, or what God thinks of you? Proverbs 4:14-15 says:
“Enter not into the path of the wicked and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it and pass away.”
The “path of the wicked” could very well describe public school. Why would you intentionally place yourself in the middle of temptation and evil? Homeschooling allows you to build lasting friendships with like-minded people, who will encourage you rather than tempt you to compromise. And when your only classmates are your siblings, peer pressure is never an issue!

3. The schedule is flexible.
This is one of the more practical benefits of homeschooling - and one of the most fun! If something unexpected occurs, it’s not difficult to simply rearrange the schedule to accommodate it. It also makes you more available to help others. Every other Thursday, for example, my mom takes my grandmother out to lunch, and visits with her. She takes a few kids with her, and they are able to be a blessing to my grandmother in a way they could not be if they were in public school. There are also fun benefits! For example, our family always goes on vacation during the first two weeks of September. During the two most beautiful weeks of the year (we think!), while most kids are headed back to school, we’re headed on vacation! During the heat of summer you can sit in your air conditioned house and do schoolwork, and then take a month or two off to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and rake leaves.:-)

4. You are able to interact comfortably with all ages.
The way the school system lumps all children in with their own age group results in teenagers that don’t know how to communicate with anyone besides other teenagers. They don’t know how to talk intelligently with adults, or interact with younger children. This is not only inadequate preparation for living life as an adult, but it also misses the amazing experience of learning from the older and wiser men and women who have gone before us. Learning outside of the public school system naturally puts us in position to combine the wisdom of age with the energy of youth, while public school goes in the opposite direction, making the Biblical pattern of mentoring much more difficult.

5. It keeps the family intact.
The breakup of the family in America and around the world has been widely caused by the public school system. Although television, ipods, computers and other technology have done their share to create a ‘me-centered‘ world, government schools are one of the biggest offenders. With the kids on the school bus and out of the way every morning, the mothers are ‘free’ to pursue their own interests. This ‘freedom’ for women, has ultimately resulted in more women than men in the work force today. And we wonder where all the men have gone! God created men and women different for a purpose - the family. Men are better able than women to handle the stress and difficulties of work outside the home. Women are better able than men to handle the stress and difficulties of running a household and raising children. This is not random chance! This is how God designed it to be! In the homeschool family, the mother and children are at home together all day long. Although for some this may seem more like a nightmare than a dream, the relationships built with family at home are the cornerstones of rebuilding our fallen country. And the more time you spend with your family, the more time you will want to spend with them. Really! :-)

“Let them alone; they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” Matthew 15:14
Imagine with me for a moment that both of us are blind, and trying to make our way across a busy intersection. If I attempted to lead you, we would both meet with disaster because neither of us could see where we were going. In the same way, most students at public schools are spiritually blind and without direction. If you allow the blind to lead you, disaster will occur. Keep your eyes on the light, for you are not blind! You have the King of the Universe for your father, and He has a perfect and beautiful plan for your life. Do not waste your time on the frivolous and oftentimes harmful pleasures the world has to offer. Live each moment for the glory of your King, and prepare yourself to serve Him until His task for you is complete.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.”
Ecclesiastes 10: 13-14


By Olivia -
Government schools are not fairy tales like movies show them to be (Highschool Musical, A Cinderella story, etc.) – they are dangerous places. More than ever we see young ladies roaming around lost, unprotected, and unloved. Trying to be found, protected and loved, many young women fantasize that a new and better life would be found somewhere else other than their home – like attending a public school where they can be with friends all day or be noticed more than they are now.


I am 17 years old and was adopted into a loving, Christian homeschooling family when I was ten years old. Before being homeschooled, I attended public schools. I can tell you from experience they are not always fun and jolly. Yes, any day can bring fun – no matter where you are. But we have to look at the value of the fun being given. My parents, and most homeschooling parents, choose to homeschool their children because of their love for their children and their desire to protect them by showing them the Truth…Jesus Christ. Your parents desire your heart and your mind and are unwilling to hand them over to the government school system, especially for the sake of a different kind of “fun”. They aren’t just keeping you home to help clean the house, keep the younger children together, to have no friends, or whatever reason may be making you discontent. Homeschooling can be very "fun"! It is all in your choice of attitude.

Young ladies, I encourage you to be thankful for the blessing you were given in being homeschooled. I know a young Christian public high school student that has been government schooled all the way through school. She has said to me before that she wishes she had been homeschooled and really values all that she sees in my life. Many people think that being public schooled is a way to share the gospel with the lost, but what happens is that the Christian student often gets “preached” to from the government system and ends up losing their heart to the lies being fed to them.

Please value the gift your parents are giving you and don’t long for some “fairy-tale” called public school. Do not toss aside the gift your parents are giving you – a gift from God!


Public high school is often quite unfairly vilified in my opinion. Public high school is what you make of it. If you take advantage of the resources and put in the effort, you can get a lot out of it. If you hang out with the “good” kids, you most likely won’t get dragged into perilous situations (crazy parties, drugs, etc.) as is often depicted in the movies. My opinion of public school is almost entirely positive. I was in New England public schools from kindergarten until I graduated from high school, and am now a student at a private college. I can’t imagine having experienced the same academic and personal growth from completing high school at a private school or at home.

First, I should probably tell you a bit about who I am. I have always been an introverted person. I was born introverted, and will probably be introverted for the rest of my life. However, when I was younger, I was also quite shy. Now, I am much less shy, although I am not outgoing by any means. I am also self-motivated. In this regard, I think I would have done well with homeschooling. I love to learn. Another important note: I’m quite familiar with homeschooling, since they majority of my cousins are/have been homeschooled.

Academically, I had an amazing high school experience. The public schools in my town are pretty good and my school offered a fair number of honors and AP (advanced placement) courses. I didn’t have as much freedom to choose my classes during the 9th and 10th grades since I had more required classes. However, this was fine since I did not really know what I wanted to study yet anyway. I did have the freedom to choose the levels of the classes I took (AP vs. honors vs. college prep. My school also offered level 2 and 3 classes, which were for students who were either not planning on college or needed extra help). By taking mostly honors classes, most of my classmates were the same (my graduating class was 230, but I really only took classes with about 50 of them). During my junior and senior years, I got to choose most of my classes, as well as some of my teachers. I loved the sciences, so I took mostly science classes. My school offered some science courses on specific topics, such as aquatic ecosystems. During my senior year, I took seven academic classes (and when I say academic, I mean sciences/math/English/foreign language) in addition to an online course. On any given night, I could have 3-7 hours of homework. With my extracurriculars on top of this, I was busy with school from 6:30 in the morning until I went to bed at 10. This may seem like a lot, but my work increased gradually throughout my public school education. In 9th grade, I probably had about 1-4 hours of homework per night and fewer extracurriculars. So, by the time I reached my senior year, I felt well prepared and ready to tackle it. It definitely taught me effective time and stress management.

I hear a lot of unfairly negative critiques of public school teachers. Most high school teachers are there because they enjoy teaching and know a lot about their subject. Of course, there’s always the chance that you’ll get a teacher who is not great. However, you will also have six other teachers who could be amazing. Several years after my high school graduation, I am still in contact with my favorite teachers. I learned a lot from my high school teachers, and most of them truly care about their students. They’re typically kind and helpful people, not the scary out-of-touch adults that movies usually depict.

I also had a good social experience in high school. High school can be rather clique-y, but for me, that was not a bad thing. I had a group of about 10 friends who I had classes with and would hang out with outside of class. My group of friends coexisted with everyone else at school. I never personally experienced any bullying and we certainly never bullied anyone else. That’s not to say that bullying doesn’t exist; it does. However, you should not automatically think “If I go to public school, I’m going to have to worry about bullies.” That simply isn’t true.

Going to public school definitely made me less shy. I’m not saying being shy is necessarily a bad thing, but it is if it interferes with your ability to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. I learned good social skills and how to interact with many different people.

I usually did not have very much time to spend with friends outside of school. Sometimes we would get together on a Friday or Saturday night, but we never partied. Honestly, I never even heard about any high school parties (at least not the “traditional” crazy high school parties. Of course, my friends and I had small birthday parties, but these usually included a movie and a sleepover). Even if we didn’t have a lot of time outside of school, I still got to spend 8 hours a day with my friends since we were typically in the same classes.

I obviously do not think that homeschoolers are in any way inferior or lacking in socialization. However, I do have one problem with homeschooling (especially if you’re homeschooling for religious purposes, but this applies to all homeschooling): I don’t believe that anyone can effectively learn about people who have very different ideas/lifestyles by homeschooling. Learning to interact with very different people is something that I would not get by socializing with friends from church or family friends or even by having a part-time job. This is something that I got from public schooling. I learned to put myself in others’ shoes and really understand their perspectives and why they came to think as they do. Also, I think that learning from someone who is not a member of your family or your church is highly beneficial. No matter what you do in life, these are skills that you need to have in order to truly understand people.

Regarding movies depicting public school: NONE of them are remotely accurate. Neither the good nor the bad parts reflect the true high school experience, at least from my point of view. My two favorite high school movies are The Breakfast Club and Mean Girls (funnily enough, both of these movies depict high school as a horrifying experience). Despite my love for these films, I am so thankful that they are NOT real. The high school social scene is not nearly as scary as shown in either of these films. Films that show a more utopian view of high school, like High School Musical, are just as unrealistic. Watching High School Musical and then wanting to go to public school is like watching The Beauty and the Beast and then wanting to go to a French castle (I’m sorry, but you will be sorely disappointed. Public school and French castles lack both the singing). It is a MOVIE, not real life. Never base real-life decisions on movies. That’s just a good rule in general.

If you’re a homeschooler looking to start public school, chances are you will not fall in love with Zac Efron or be manipulated by Regina George. High school is neither a particularly romantic place, nor a scary one. Public school is, above all else, a school. It’s a place to get an education. If you’re a Christian homeschooler, you can absolutely go to public school. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to party or date (I didn’t) and still have a fulfilling high school experience with great friends. Believe it or not, you have choices as a public school student. I would not take back my public school education for anything. I would recommend considering public high school, but don’t expect it to be anything like the movies. You’re there to learn and to grow. My high school was a second home for me; one full of great people and memories.


A Public Experience
By Jacy

Going to public school for me was about friends and boys. Now, don’t get me wrong. I had great classes and some good teachers, most of the time. But as a growing young lady, my focus was never on what was good for me. There are so many kids from all different walks of life trying to be educated in one place, with only one set of rules for everyone. My hungry brain was not being fed the right kinds of food. Public school allowed me to have some good friends. But on the flip side, public school helped me birth excuses against thriving in education and protecting my heart. Eventually I grew out of that stage, but not without some emotional scars.

I believe the biggest problem in public school today is more than just the constant bullying, the overcrowding of classrooms, lack of teacher assistance and experience. It is kids not having the desire or knowledge as to how to guard their hearts properly and to focus on what God wants in their lives. Some of these children have no solid love in their lives, and we expect them to interact with others with dignity and respect that they never had themselves. I’ve known many kids whose parents were divorced, on drugs or plainly just did not care what their child did as long as the parents were not bothered.

Children need love and attention, and when they don’t get what their hearts need at home, school is the next best stop. Can you really blame the child for being a product of their circumstances? Yes, they need to be disciplined like everyone else, but are we really seeing the potential public school can have, and the ministry it can be? Instead of being positive about preparing our children to be a Christ-like example in school, we see it as a passage way to bad choices. The key is deepening a child’s foundation in God that they can withstand and go through the trials of public school as a better compassionate and loving Christian. Sometimes separating children too much from public school is not equipping a child to learn how to interact with others who need Jesus. The fear of our children falling into temptation in schools moves us to keep them segregated, away from the “problem.” I am not against homeschooling, but the problem really lies in the heart of a child or person. There are many unhealthy and ungodly habits being introduced to children at home all over the world.

I wasn’t homeschooled, but my husband was for some of his education. But by middle school and high school, he attended public school in the same town where he grew up. Using both of our experiences while thinking about this article, I concluded that middle school is by far the most terrifying and life changing part of a child’s life. They are neither a small kid nor a teenager, but in between. How confusing a time for them! Being in between two stages that is when children have harder times of adjustment, discipline, acceptance and discernment. Their hearts are still very innocent, and yet society is pushing them to grow quickly when they may not be ready.

For the most part, I went to school with unbelievers. I myself was not much of a follower of Christ until my early 20s, but I still knew there was a God and wanted to know more about Him. I just had no guidance as to how to do that, never mind even a Bible.

Rebellion became my antidote. Children subconsciously know that their lives are meant for more, but what they don’t understand is that God has promised them a role so much higher than where they are right now. Without the proper guidelines from His Word and without good Christian examples in their lives, public school can be a pit of hot rebellion racing through their veins. They lash out just to prove to themselves that they are worth something. Kids try and gain some respect and identity through their harsh words and actions because they have not been taught that they need to be like the Lord Jesus Christ. They have not been told to guard their hearts and keep their emotional purity set on God.

I remember my journal pages filled up daily with juicy details about how a boy I liked smiled at me that day. Or how when he spoke, my heart would flutter and I couldn’t breathe. These are all natural reactions, but I can see now how that was dangerous. Instead of focusing on my schoolwork, I was focusing on another human being to satisfy my hearts desires. As a young girl, this is meant to happen. However I know I could have saved so much time and heartbreak if I was equipped with the proper scriptures concerning my heart and how I needed to have it flutter for God.

Guarding your heart is a daily practice. Going to public school is not just about guarding yourselves physically, but even more so is being pure emotionally. I had spent the majority of my energy swooning over young men and living in my fantasy world that did not exist. I was a creative child and loved art. I credit my imagination for saving my soul against the pressures of drugs and alcohol. Because of my God given gifts, I was able to occupy myself most of the time with something positive and have an outlet for my feelings. But most kids don’t have that, and they don’t know what to turn to in order to satisfy that emptiness inside.

I don’t think public school allows children to keep that innocence within their hearts. I believe the school system has good intentions, but not for the kids. We seem too consumed with the best state test scores and all these fancy numbers that don’t mean anything if a child is still lost and lonely. Yes, we scored the highest grades in our math division! And yet a child is being bullied every day without anyone, teachers included, stepping in to make a real difference. Our main focus in education needs to be on growing and building up these children to be leaders in the world that is in dire need of true compassion and love.

I have been fortunate to have some good teachers who actually care more about the test scores, and focus on touching a child’s heart. But they are few and far between, and this world is not slowing down at a pace that children can cope properly with the many transitions that occur after they done with school.

Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

True education needs to start at home. Whether they’re homeschooled or attend public school, children need to be reminded of a higher purpose in their lives so that they will be less likely to try and grasp at the unfulfilling strings in the world. Talk to them but more important, listen. We need to listen to our children because they are calling out for help. When a child rebels against authority, they really are speaking out. Who will hear them? If not you, God will always listen but do they know that? Do our children really know that God is with them always?

Public school for me had many great memories. I had some good and solid friends that I still have today, and am able to minister to thanks to God’s divine intervention. I grew in my talents and Godly gifts thanks to the teachers He placed in my life. But my experience is an exception to many children who did not make it all the way to graduation. The ones who did not have education start at home and the ones who never felt what real love truly was. The power in our hands lets us decide whether we will help our children grow and prosper, or wallow as the product of their circumstances.

Will you be the one that will listen?



I would like to thank everyone who submitted an essay! :-) It was very interesting and helpful to read your different viewpoints and experiences.

If anyone is interested in studying this further, I recommend John Taylor Gatto's book "The Underground History of American Education" - available for online reading at http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm. Mr Gatto is an interesting man and was named New York State Teacher of the Year three times - it is fascinating to read his perspective of the system that he taught in for so long.

Another book I recommend is "Safely Home" by Tom Eldredge - this book was written by a Christian author and is an amazing study of the history of education among other things. Though not available online, it is for sale for a reasonable price (new or used).

I do hope that this was helpful to you, and I will do my utmost to ensure that the other two essays are included as soon as possible. :-)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Public School Vs Home

I have noticed a large amount of young ladies who want to go to public school as soon as they reach highschool age, however, when I talk to them they really have no idea what they are hoping for or in for.

All of the popular teen movies (like Highschool Musical, A Cinderella Story, Princess Protection Program) that most of these girls are watching promote a 'fairy-tale' version of public school. Even the "bad" parts of the movie, where the main character is made fun of or abused, is not 'that bad'.

Would anyone be willing to share their experience of public school in an essay of 2,000 words or less? If so, please e-mail it to me at joymarie89 [at] aol [dot] com - Edit: My apologies, ladies, this should read: missjoymarie89 (at) aol (dot) com . Got it right except for the 'miss' at the beginning! Please try again to send me your essay! -

The three top essays will be posted on this blog. Thanks a lot! :-)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lily Among Thorns - Part 2

Okay, so now we know what a Lily looks like, and we know that is what we want, but HOW DO WE GET THERE FROM WHERE WE ARE??? Of course, God is the One who does the work in us and we wouldn't even be wanting to be closer to Him unless He had called us (1 John 4:19), but so often we feel the fire of passion for God growing in our spirit and we just don't know what to do with it. Thankfully, God has given us very clear instructions in the Bible about what He wants us to do when we feel Him calling us to a more fulfilled and God-centered life than we now have.
(Note: See the end of the post for some recommended tools in starting out on this new phase of your life.)
So what are we supposed to do after we have 'accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior'?

1."Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
"Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass. And He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light and thy judgment as the noonday." Psalm 37:5-6 (Go and read all of Psalm 37, it's really amazing!)
Okay, so, how are we supposed to commit our way unto the Lord? PRAY!!!
As you start out on this brand new phase of your life, go into a quiet room all by yourself (the bathroom works good for this if you honestly can't find anywhere else), get down on your knees (yes, I'm serious), and pray out loud to the God of the Universe who is calling to your heart (if you pray quietly or in a whisper, that's okay too, but it is important that you say the words with your mouth as well as your heart).
Commit your life, job, relationships, health, anger, fear, talents, everything to your Father, and ask Him to direct your paths and to show you what to do next.
Ask Him to show you what is in your life that is tying you to this world, is an idol to you or is standing between you and Him.

2. "
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." Galations 6:7-8
As you begin to do this, God will show you what is that you are idolizing. What it is that you are escaping to when you should be going to Him. (Escaping might sound something like this: "Oh man, I'm so stressed out! I just need to shut my mind off for a little while. I think I'll go watch a movie... go on facebook... vent on my blog... listen to music... go shopping... have some chocolate...")
One good way to evaluate whether or not something is an idol is to ask yourself whether or not you could live without it. (I believe that Leslie Ludy has a whole section on this in her book "Set Apart Femininity" that was very helpful to me. I wish that I could quote her, but I don't have the book at the moment.)

3. "
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish." Galations 5:16-17
(It goes on to list what the works of the flesh are... very interesting. If you have a moment, make sure to go read Galations 5:13-26)
As God shows you what you are replacing Him with, GET RID OF IT!!! Let nothing stand against your pursuit of Him! And please realize that He might not be calling you to never ever have another piece of chocolate again, but perhaps if you go on a fast from it, you might have an easier time "sowing to the spirit and not the flesh".

4."
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints..." Ephesians 6:18
Take the time that is freed up by getting rid of your 'escape', and use it to read the Bible and pray. Make sure not to fill it up with something else. If you get stop watching movies but take that time to listen to music (yes, even Christian music), than you are missing the point. The whole point of any kind of fast in this context (whether of entertainment, food, or anything), is to deny the flesh and to free up more time to spend with God and find out what He is calling you to.
I'll give you a very quick example out of my own life. My parents go for a walk every evening and it takes them about 30-45 minutes. Now by this time my chores are all done and I am free to do whatever I want (within reason of course) ;-). This is a perfect opportunity to spend time in prayer. (Besides, I found that when I had a time limit like that, it made it so that I was not constantly looking at the clock or trying to 'hurry up and get it over with'.)
This is an exercise of your will and your spirit, and if you are not used to it this can be tiring, but it will be very rewarding if you use the time to pray according to God's will.

(One quick note on prayer: if you run out of things to pray for, try opening the Bible to a Scripture, say Ephesians 6:10-18 or Psalm 37, and praying through it. - ie "Dear Father, help me not to fret myself because of evildoers, and not to be envious against the workers of iniquity... Rather work in my heart that I may trust in You, and give me wisdom and strength from You to do good. Help me to delight myself in You, and let the desire of my heart be to be a good and faithful servant to You. Lord, I do commit my way unto you, and do choose to trust in you, please give me righteousness that shines like the light
Also, consider this quote: "There is a general kind of praying which fails for lack of precision. It is as if a regiment of soldiers should all fire off their guns anywhere. Possibly somebody would be killed, but the majority of the enemy would be missed." - Charles Spurgeon, The Metroplitan Tabernacle Pulpit)

5. "
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
As God shows you the strongholds in your life, go ahead and use the mighty weapons that He has given you (Ephesians 6:10-18) to pull down the strongholds, cast down the imaginations of your heart (for some young ladies sensual imaginings is a huge stumbling block) etc.

6. "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”" 1 Peter 1:13-16
Continue to fight against the idols in your life by refreshing yourself through prayer.
Also see "The Physical Side of Mental Purity" "Compromises" "Crushes on Unavailable Men" "PTGW Part 8: Taking Care of Your Soul" "Questions About Crushes, Attention, and Other Stuff!" "A Joyful, Thankful Heart" and "Tips for Mental Purity" for some more in depth practical suggestions about some of the more common strongholds and stumbling blocks for young ladies.

7. "Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these.”" Mark 12:29-31
Pray, pray, pray! Pray without ceasing! Pray for the strength of God in this time of growing in your life! Pray that He would make you into a woman after His own Heart! Pray specifically for the godly qualities you are lacking! You are going to need His help, for "...Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”" Matthew 19:26b


And now for the recommended tools that I promised!

1. "The Steps to Freedom" by Neil Anderson - this is a great tool for the start of your journey and can help you to identify the strongholds in your life and cast them down. I would highly recommend this to EVERYONE!!! (Don't get turned off by how small it is, it is a powerful tool because it uses the Truth of God's Word to identify and cast down strongholds.) Highly Recommended

2. "Praying God's Word: Breaking Free From Spiritual Strongholds" by Beth Moore - this is an excellent place to start praying God's word, and gives a little more concentrated help on the areas of weakness in your life. Recommended

3. "Get Out of That Pit: A 40-Day Devotional Journal" by Beth Moore - I have never read the original book, but this journal is very helpful for those struggling with depression. Recommended

4. "Set Apart Femininity" by Leslie Ludy - This book is one of the main ways that God called me to more than the mediocre Christianity I was living. Highly Recommended

5. "Wrestling Prayer" by Eric and Leslie Ludy - If you are looking for a step by step guide to becoming more than a mediocre Christian, this is an amazing and very challenging book to grow you in your faith and service to the Lord! Highly Recommended

6. "The Bible" the supernaturally inspired and perfect Word of God. Highly Highly Highly HIGHLY Recommended!!!!


And just one last word of encouragement...
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Luke 11:9-10

(These verses in this post are just meant to get you started, please go ahead and read the full chapters and books that I have quoted from here and continue to seek God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. As usual, if you have any questions, or if you come across any other verses that you think would enhance this post, or would be a blessing to those reading it, please leave a comment.)