children, faith, parenthood

6 Reasons I Don’t Let My Children Work Problems Out on Their Own

I was a young mom with a toddler and a preschooler –the youngest of all the moms in the group– and a few of the older moms in the group ruled the roost.

They instructed the rest of us that when our very young children went outside to play, we were not allowed to check on them, not allowed to be outside with them, and not allowed to correct them.

If a child came inside and said “Tommy is being mean,” or “Amy hit me,” one of the older moms would tell the children to go back outside and work it out themselves.

If they came in again or if a mom dared to try to help them, one of the older moms would glare, lecture, and scold either the parent or the child.

This was a group of Christian homeschool parents, and I was completely blown away by the hands-off mentality and lack-of-concern attitude by the other parents –not to mention the adults who were basically bullying other adults.

I’m pretty assertive, but the older moms were absolutely firm and criticized anyone who went against them.

The children –dozens of them– would be out there for sometimes hours without any adult supervision.

There was no easy way to keep an eye on my children from inside the building; the play area was really just a 4-foot strip of bark dust and bushes at the back of the lot which was not visible from any of the windows.

After a few playtimes, I realized this was not going to work.

My 2-year-old was being bullied regularly because he couldn’t say his consonants yet, and the children would pester my 4-year-old son with ADHD and SPD until he had a sensory meltdown.

I put my foot down and started either keeping my children inside with me or standing alone outside to supervise the children while they played and the other moms ignored their kids.

It was hard enough to tell my little children that they couldn’t play with their friends, but I was treated like I was crazy and overprotective by the other moms who refused to step even outside onto the porch to oversee their own children.

I’m glad I was overprotective and trusted my instincts because –years later– I found out that younger children were being molested by older children in that back lot while the older moms intimidated the younger moms to keep them from being “overprotective.”

The resulting social interaction –having the children unattended outside for an hour or more and tell them to work it out on their own– was bullying.

It was really unbelievable to me, completely avoidable, and minimized once I was out there overseeing the children’s interaction.

Eventually, some of the other younger moms caught on and started bringing activities for their kids to do inside where they could see them, and they would play nicely on the floor with my children.

The rest of the ladies played along with the older moms, leaving their children to be bullied and mistreated.

Unfortunately, it was too late to protect some of the little kids who had already been touched inappropriately before their mothers chose to keep them inside.

The older moms were furious that we moms were not conforming to their hands-off approach to motherhood, and they tried many different tactics to try to get us to send out children back outside even telling us that we were wronging our children and depriving them of important childhood development by insisting that our children stay with us.

I’ll never get it.

I’ll never understand how you can expect your 2-year-olds through 6-year-olds to learn to healthily interact without you there to oversee and instruct them.

The older moms were using bully tactics to try to force the younger moms to allow a public school, playground-style social interaction –which included bullying and intimidation– to be forced on their children.

Isn’t this part of the reason they aren’t in a brick-and-mortar school?

So that we don’t have to deal with this nonsense?

So that our children are not exposed to this very unhealthy version of socialization?

The children of the bully moms grew up to be —imagine this— bullies.

Their mothers acted as if this was a healthy way to interact.

They may have taken their children out of the public school, but they still considered the public school social environment –which breeds antisocial behavior– to be normal.

I do not.

At all.

I homeschool for many reasons, and one of them is to get away from the unhealthy social environment.

I have special needs kids who are currently 12 and 15 years old, and they still often need me to be an arbitrator for their disagreements.

They are still –even now– struggling to find healthy ways to interact.

I think that so few adults know how to interact in a healthy way that they don’t even realize that how their kids are interacting isn’t healthy or biblical –just read public Facebook comments from those who claim to be believers and you’ll see what I mean about adults not interacting in a healthy way.

I remember asking my mother when I would stop being the arbitrator between my two children, and she told me “When they turn 18 –if you’re lucky.”

She also told me, “It’s part of your job as their mom.”

I am really glad she told me that because for a while I was starting to doubt myself. If you are told you are crazy long enough –no matter how confident you are– you begin to question your position.

We left that group a long time ago –we stayed too long, honestly, hoping we could make it work– but the things I observed in that extreme version of the let-them-figure-it-out-themselves approach to parenting left a huge impression on me and left me determined that I absolutely would not be using that method to train my children.

The following are 6 reasons that I absolutely refuse to let my kids work it out –which in most cases just means fight it out:


1. They lack the maturity.

Particularly kids of the age mine were at the time –between the ages of 2 and 4 have no concept of compromise.

For most kids, that won’t hit until ages 9 or 10 when they become socially aware –longer if they have special needs.

If you think children of any age are able to handle conflict resolution, take a look at your average interaction between high schoolers –that is telling, isn’t it?

Some children may develop this earlier, depending on personality and maturity.

Our children might be able to handle conflict resolution by age 16, if they are trained to do so, if they are taught to be unselfish, considerate, aware of other people’s needs –at the same time learning to stand up for themselves and for what is right– and if they see it demonstrated in their everyday lives.

We parents need to learn to be conflict resolvers ourselves so that we can model that behavior to our children.

If we can’t do it, how on earth do we expect them to?


2. It breeds bullying.

If you leave kids to themselves to work out problems, it just means that the biggest, baddest, most assertive, most aggressive, or most unkind kid wins.

This teaches our children that there is no reason to stick up for what’s right because whoever is the worst is going to win anyway.

Is that really what I want my children to learn?

That there’s no justice?

That no one will help them if they’re standing up for right?

That doing the right thing doesn’t matter?

That they should just roll over and let whoever is the worst person in their midst win?

That I won’t come help them if they need it?

This is absolutely not what I’m trying to teach my children and is the main reason that I will not force my children to resolve problems without adult help.

This is absolutely what my children learned in their limited interaction with the above-mentioned group.

It took some unlearning, but we did get past it.


3. It breeds anger and resentment.

If your child is being mistreated, they come to ask you for help, and you turn them away, why wouldn’t they be angry?

You are supposed to help them: that is your job.

You are also supposed to protect them: that is your job.

But in this environment, they are made into victims –unless perchance they happen to be the biggest and the baddest, and then they learn to walk all over anyone who they think is less than them.

You think bullies are happy?

They are the angriest and most unhappy people you will meet, just spreading that anger onto others.

It is bad for everyone involved.

Neither the winning or the losing child has matured through this process if they are left to themselves.

It has only left everyone wounded and hurting.


4. It’s unbiblical.

We’re supposed to raise our children up in the admonition of the Lord and teach them how to follow Jesus.

We should not expect them to figure out how to interact in a healthy, mature, and biblical way on their own.

Why would there be a command to raise them up correctly if it was going to happen without us intentionally doing it? Without us involved?

Even if we verbally instruct them to be kind before sending them out, more than likely they will not be able to do that without our guidance –especially in the beginning.

Even with our guidance and example, it may take years for them to learn.

Because, well, they’re kids.

They may me be able to handle situations maturely, but at what age will vary by child, so pray for wisdom before turning your children lose to resolve their own conflicts.

Until then, what they need is their parent with them step-by-step not only being an example but being a guide.

That will feel like you are a referee.

That’s okay.

That’s part of being a parent: it’s in the job description.


5. It’s unwise.

Proverbs says that a child left himself will bring his mother to shame.

If that’s what Solomon –the wisest man who ever lived– believe would happen if children were left to themselves, what makes us think that leaving them to figure problems out on their own will have any positive result at all?

The children in the story above, particularly those who were raised to be bullies, did not learn how to interact in a healthy way on their own.

They grew up to interact in unhealthy ways just like they were trained.

It was unreasonable for those women to think that they could leave their young children to train themselves and not have it bring about shameful and unfortunate results.


6. It makes our children think we don’t care.

Is it a lot of work to be a constant moderator?

Yes, absolutely!

It is a lot of work, and I think that’s why some moms choose to let their children fight it out.

But it was the work we took on when we had children.

We do not get to ignore or abandon that responsibility simply because we don’t like it.

How are they going to learn to interact in a healthy way with people that they disagree with if we are not teaching them?

If they are not seeing us resolve problems in our own lives?

If we are not helping them resolve problems in their lives?

Our children should never come to us for help and get either the direct or implied answer that we don’t care about them.

That is not okay.

If I absolutely cannot deal with the squabbling, I am not above threatening them with life and limb that if they know what is good for them they had better sit on their own ends of the couch and be quiet until I am done cooking dinner and then we will figure it out.

But I will never intentionally communicate to my children that I do not care about them or their struggles.

If I choose to communicate that I don’t care when something small comes up, then when something big comes up they will not turn to me for help because I have already communicated that I am not reliable to help them.

I’m not saying that you should never ever let your children play without you right there, but that you should encourage them to come to you with problems they can’t resolve so that you can guide them –and you may need to do some eavesdropping to make sure the conflicts they do resolve by themselves are being resolved in a good way.

A society without rules and arbitrators results in anarchy and chaos; the same happens in the home.

If adults can’t exist without rules and arbitrators –imagine a world with no government or laws, where you just took revenge when someone wronged you– how can we expect our children to function without them?

Without rule of law and arbitrators, children will become little anarchists because then we are training our children to take matters into their own hands — that’s exactly what happened in the group I was part of.

It’s not good enough to just have rules; someone actually needs to make sure those rules are understood, accurately applied, and followed.

In this group, if anyone tried to make sure the rules were being followed they were labeled a tattletale or a bad parent, but in the real world, this is expected: you call the police if someone is breaking the law by stealing or threatening bodily harm.

So why would we not expect our children to live by that same concept?

Part of the problem with the public schools, in my opinion, is that there are (some) rules but no one –or perhaps not enough someones– there to make sure the rules are applied correctly and followed.

And, we wonder why the schools are breeding anarchists and people with anti-social behavior. We wonder why the schools aren’t producing good, law-abiding citizens.

I know, parenting is really, really, really hard.

It is probably the hardest thing you have ever done, and that means you are probably doing it right.

I am through most of my parenting years since my youngest is entering his teens in a few months.

And, although I don’t deal with meltdowns, spilled milk, or playground arguments much anymore, we certainly have our rough days.

They still struggle to get along sometimes, and I still struggle and strive to continually point them back to the Bible for our answers to how people ought to interact.

The following are a few of the verses I have used recently in my childrearing:

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Romans 12:18

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment…. Romans 12:3

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. Philippians 4:5

Let us be diligent to train our children up in the way of the Lord, not to leave them angry and bitter —which is one of the only New Testament commands to parents.

Let us to be good examples in our relationships, and to try to always point them back to Jesus.

Let’s guide them by our example and oversight so that they can –Lord willing– have healthier-than-average relationships in the future –relationships that honor the Lord.

When in doubt, check your parenting against scripture.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

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faith

Is Passive-Aggressive Behavior Hurting Your Christian Walk?

Passive-aggressive behavior takes on many forms but can generally be described as a non-verbal aggression that manifests itself in negative behavior. It occurs when you express your negative emotions indirectly, instead of addressing them assertively. It is manifested when you are angry with someone but you do not or cannot tell them so. Instead of communicating honestly when you feel upset, annoyed, irritated, or disappointed, you may instead bottle up the feelings, shut up verbally, give angry looks, make obvious changes in your behavior, be obstructive, sulky, or put up a stone wall…

Passive-aggressive people …are fearful of being controlled and forced to share and communicate in a way that is uncomfortable. They have learned to frustrate and obstruct others’ ways in order to get their point across without a proper expression of thought and feeling.

God is not honored by our actions when we behave deceptively. Not only that, but it messes up our relationships, ruins our testimony, and stunts our Christian growth. The following are ten problems with passive aggressive behavior:


1. It is not honest

When you speak passive-aggressively, you actually mean the opposite of what you say or something other than what you are actually communicating. That’s not honest. It is lying either directly or by omission.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord but those who act faithfully are his delight. Proverbs 12:22

For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;… 1 Peter 3:10


2. It is unkind

When you behave passive aggressively, you are trying to undermine the other person. Instead of being upfront about what you want or what you disagree with, you sabotage their goals or say you will support them and then don’t. It is not thinking about the other person first. Some people have learned to be passive aggressive because of the family they were raised in or in order to protect themselves from abuse, but this is not how God would have us communicate. We are to communicate in kindness. Passive aggressiveness is not kind. At all. It is not thinking of the other person first.

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32


3. It ignores sin

When someone is passive aggressive, they often use that method of communication to avoid having to deal directly with sin that they see in someone else. Scripture teaches that we are supposed to tell other Christians when we see them living in sin. We don’t get a pass on obeying those verses just because we have damage in our past. Instead of directly saying that what someone is doing is wrong, passive aggressive people make indirect and sometimes even deceptive comments to avoid having to confront that sin. Sometimes, they will even go along with sin when they know it is wrong just to keep the peace and not have to confront sin. Along with that, passive aggressive people will make subtle and underhanded comments about it but not directly confront the issue. A lot of passive aggressive behavior in marriages could be resolved if we better understood and followed scripture.

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17


4. It casts unrighteous judgments

Another way that passive aggressive people use their words to undermine others is by making comments and being critical and judgemental about something they don’t like when they can’t back up their position biblically. If you don’t have a solid leg to stand on biblically, you can’t use verses to back up your position. So just make jabs and sarcastic comments about the person, such as criticizing what they wear or what they say in a subtle way. Since you aren’t coming right out and confronting them, it is highly unlikely that they will call you on your unfair and unrighteous (not to mention unbiblical) judgement, but you can still get your opinion out there. This ruins relationships and undermines trust, but at least the passive aggressive person feel better about themselves because they got to say what they think even if they are wrong.

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. John 7:24


5. It breeds anger and bitterness

If we are allowing sin in our midst, not addressing it, and then trying to subtly hint to the person in sin that they are in sin, they are probably not going to get it. And, that isn’t how we are told in scripture to do it. So, it is going to make us angry. Angry that the person isn’t changing. Angry that the sin isn’t being addressed. Angry that we aren’t heard. And that will lead to bitterness. These behaviors can absolutely decimate relationships. Nearly all passive aggressive people I know are very angry and bitter. They are downright miserable. There is a right way to address sin our lives and in our marriages, and that is not it.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:31


6. It is cowardly

Passive aggressive behavior is avoidance behavior. Instead of being upfront and honest about what is really going on, you quietly make side comments and sabotage what the other person is doing hoping they will stop and notice without them getting upset at you. It is a false hope, and it doesn’t work. Do we honestly think that God would have us permit sin in our midst just so that we don’t have the discomfort of having to address sin? Just so that we don’t have to stand up for what is right? Yes, standing up for what is right is hard, absolutely. But if I can’t even stand up to my husband and say, “No, that is wrong,” how on earth do I expect that I can stand for Jesus when persecution and hard times come? This is especially an issue in Christian couples who don’t understand a proper view of submission.

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6


7. It is selfish

When someone behaves passive-aggressively, they are thinking only about what is in their own best interest. They are not thinking of other people. Often times they are trying to protect themselves from confrontation or hurt, but it is not okay to do that at the expense of other people. Passive aggressive behavior doesn’t help anyone; it only feels good to the person who is going it.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,c being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Ephesians 2:4-8


8. It keeps you immature

As maturing believers, if we want to follow scripture, we have to develop new and mature ways to communicate. This takes prayer and practice. It takes a lot of self-control to communicate to other people with grace and kindness. Self-control comes from the Holy Spirit in our lives. By not choosing to use self-control to communicate with grace, kindness, etc, we are allowing ourselves to stay immature in Christ. These situations are supposed to mature us! Passive aggressiveness gives us the illusion of control while actually keeping us immature spiritually, unhealthy emotionally, and it messes up our relationships. It is not honoring to the Lord!

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. James 1:26


 9. It is not peaceful

Have you ever lived with or spent time with someone who is passive aggressive? I have. It is not pleasant. You are constantly on guard. You are walking on eggshells. They are miserable all the time and consequently you are miserable all the time. They occasionally explode because of all the bitterness they are holding inside. But because they don’t want to actually deal with the issues causing the problem –because they are using avoidance behaviour– the issues don’t actually get resolved and problems don’t get fixed. They just fester. And fester. And explode again at a later time. It is an ever-ticking time bomb. It is a contagious kind of miserable. That is not how we are called to live our lives.

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. Philippians 4:4

…if possible, as far as depends on you, living in peace with all men. Romans 12:18


10. It is not Christ-like

Jesus obeyed and left the rest in God’s hands. Even in the garden before He was crucified, He prayed that God’s will would be done. In my opinion, a huge cause of passive aggressive behavior in a Christians is them not choosing to believe that God is in control. They are unwilling to surrender control of the situation to God. If you can do something about it, do; if not, trust God with the results. Your underhanded behaviour will not bring honor to the Lord. Even if it changed the situation, it would be the wrong way to go about it. It is in fact lack of faith on your part to keep trying to push the person toward the thing you want them to do. If leaving His life in God’s hands was good enough for Jesus, then it surely ought to be good enough for us. If we truly believe that God is going to take care of us, it will not result in us trying to manipulate the situation. Nor will it result in bitterness, because we are trusting the results to God.

“…not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:24


Jesus is the example we should be following:

Because he is the truth (John 14:6), Jesus always spoke honestly, never deceiving through passive-aggressive speech or other means. Jesus never tried to meet his own needs through his words. Instead, he consistently served others through what he said.

If you are guilty of passive-aggressive behaviour, I recommend that you spend some time in prayer seeking the Lord’s forgiveness and praying for the courage to confront your problems head-on without manipulation, trusting the results to God.

Maturity in Christ should make us bold, honest, kind, gracious, and giving. Don’t let passive aggressive behaviour rob you of your growth or your testimony in Christ.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

ADHD, art, children, homeschooling, illness

Art Therapy: A Simple Method to Deal with Stress

If you have ADHD, anxiety, adrenal problems or if you are basically living and breathing, you probably deal with stress and difficulties processing that stress.

This can be especially true for people who don’t have neurotypical brains because our brains are already a little off and prone to misfiling information.

Many anxieties (for example, phobias) comes from the brain not filing information properly. That’s how something as nondangerous as a housefly could cause a panic attack in someone with that phobia: houseflies got misfiled in the brain as dangerous.

Those of us who are neurodiverse also have a greater possibility of having PTSD than neurotypical brains because PTSD involves the misfiling of information in the brain during a stressful situation. We already have issues with misfiling information due to stress and executive function, so it is quite understandable that we would be more susceptible to PTSD.

As part of the treatment for my low adrenals, my doctor suggested that I try art therapy to lower my stress and the tax on my adrenals. However, the art therapy instructions she gave were very nonspecific and abstract.

I don’t deal well with abstract. I’m going to blame that on being a Highly Sensitive Person, but it could just as easily be something else.

No matter the cause, I deal better with more concrete ideas.

I read as much as I could find on art therapy online and came up with my own method that seems to be helping me.


Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a psychologist. I’m not responsible for problems that occur as a result of using this method. These problems could range from remembering things that make you angry or messes from children having art supplies. Proceed at your own risk.


Some people actually go to college to teach art therapy, and I’m sure they would balk at this.

I’m not saying it’s the right way; I’m only saying it has worked for me.

The purpose of this method art therapy is to help you let go of things that stress you.

Anything that helps you to that end, even if it’s not the same as what the professional would do, is a good thing in my book –provided that it’s both legal and moral, that is.

True clinical art therapy is much more involved than what I’m doing.

Some versions I saw online also involve emptying yourself and letting your spirit guide show you what to do. As a Christian, I won’t be following any spirit guides, but I do pray during the process. If you aren’t religious you can just as easily skip the prayer part.


What you need:

  • A sheet of paper (such as computer paper but any will do)
  • A variety of color crayons or pencils
  • A pen (black works best in my opinion) or a regular #2 pencil

Parts of this activity I have actually been doing since I was a child –minus some of the angry scribbling.

It is simple enough that a child could do it, and I think a child understand it.

This video explains the process including how to adapt it for kids –even special needs kids.

This is one of the first times I have made a video, and I apologize in advance for all the times I say “Umm.” I am obviously not comfortable with the medium of video yet, and I smiled at my own discomfort when I replayed the video. I had also hoped to be able to caption the video for my hearing-impaired friends, but my computer was not cooperating. I may be able to do it sometime in the future but not today.

If you have any questions about the video or the method I use, please ask! I am happy to help.

I hope this was helpful in learning to de-stress.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

faith, marriage

Loving an Imperfect Husband

I have talked quite a bit about our husbands in the past –from the myth that somewhere out there is a perfect husband to what to do if your husband is not walking with the Lord or is unsaved to why I stopped criticizing my husband.

Yesterday, a friend and I had a long talk about husbands and particularly about how our Christian husbands –like all believers– grow at a different rate than we do. For more about this, see my post about the growth of Christians.

Everyone’s journey is individual and unique.

She also made the point that God doesn’t convict us about all of our sins at once because He is a merciful and compassionate God and because we wouldn’t be able to handle that.

God addresses one issue in our lives at a time.

So the issue that you see in your husband’s life and that bothers you so very much might not be at the forefront of his mind because the Lord is working in a different area in his life at that moment.

That was actually really insightful for me.

It is really rare for a couple to be in the same place in their walk with Christ. I talk to a lot of women who think that their husbands are more spiritually immature than they are –and that may very well be true.

This discussion prompted me to look at scripture and to observe that those who are considered godly in the Bible were also not perfect.

David was a man after God’s own heart according to 1 Samuel 13:14, and yet he was far from perfect.

David was chosen of God to lead Israel, he wrote many psalms, he led the people to worship the one true God, and he left a legacy for many generations who came after him.

He was chosen to be the ancestor of the Messiah, Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus is actually called the Son of David.

And yet, David struggled with depression (which isn’t necessarily a sin), he was a peeping tom, he was a murderer, he was an adulterer, and he was unrepentant for his sin of murder and adultery for over nine months.

He was arrogant, thinking that he would not be held accountable for his sins because of his position as king –I am reading into it a bit, but that is my opinion: a humble person wouldn’t have thought he could have sex with any woman in the kingdom, murder her husband, and get away with it. Am I right?

I mean, who is going to chastise the king? (The answer is a very brave prophet named Nathan.)

And, yet, God did not abandon David.

God did not say, “You are no longer my chosen king.”

God did not say, “You are no longer my child.”

God corrected him and restored him.

God corrected him with a story. See 2 Samuel 12.

This is probably a good time to mention that it was not the persistent nagging of a wife that changed David’s mind and heart.

But we will talk more about nagging in a moment.

The greatest men in the Bible have struggled with sin at some point in their lives.

Most notably the three greatest men in the Bible struggled with sexual sins:

The strongest man in the Bible was Samson who struggled with sexual sin in the form of Delilah, a temptress who pulled him away from God. She was his downfall and trusting her eventually brought about his death. You can read more about Samson in Judges 16.

The wisest man in the Bible was Solomon, and you would think that with all that wisdom that he would know how foolish it is to have many wives and how incredibly difficult –if not impossible– it would be to keep them all happy. Scripture says that he tried to keep them happy by building them temples to their false gods, and his wives led him away from God. You can read more about that in 1 Kings 11.

The godliest man in the Bible was David who we have discussed already. He saw a woman bathing, but he didn’t stop there and look away to avoid temptation as Joseph did. Read more about Joseph in Genesis 39:6-12. No, David called for her, committed adultery with her, impregnated her, and then had her husband killed. You can read more about that in 2 Samuel 11.

Suddenly, my husband isn’t looking so bad –you know what I mean?

These men weren’t just mediocre followers of God –although admittedly, we have the Holy Spirit continually living in us, and Old Testament believers did not.

They were considered the best of the best.

I once heard someone say. “No man who had ever viewed pornography is a Christian.”

Really?

That one single sin makes it impossible for you to be saved? I don’t find that anywhere in the Bible.

Now, I know that God does not want us to live in sin –it is never His desire that we sin.

But, even these godly men above struggled with sins –particularly sexual sins.

These men are still listed in the Bible as godly men, there for an example to us. Samson and David are even listed as heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11.

We know that even Christians will not be completely sin-free, and while I am not defending sin –not at all– I think it is also necessary to have an honest, realistic view of life.

Your husband may very well struggle with sin at some point in his life just like David, Samson, and Solomon.

That does not mean that he is not saved.

It does not mean that he is not godly.

It means that he is human with a sin nature.

All men –and all women– sin.

It just is this way –and the way it will continue to be until we are given our new bodies when Jesus returns, bodies free from this sinful nature.

Hopefully, the longer we know Jesus the less we sin — that’s how it’s supposed to work.

You don’t know what God is doing in your husband’s life.

The reality is that He is working.

Even if you can’t see it.

If your husband is saved, God has promised to complete what He began –but it won’t happen in your timing or in your way because our preferred timeline rarely lines up with God’s timeline. See Philippians 1:6 and 2 Peter 3:8 for more about that.

So, about that nagging thing: we wives are tempted to nag, but we need to refrain from doing so.

The Bible has some harsh things to say about a nagging wife.

Better to live on the corner of a roof than to share a house with a nagging wife. Proverbs 21:9

Better to live in a wilderness than with a nagging and hot-tempered wife. Proverbs 21:19

So, if not nagging, what recourse does a Christian wife have?

1. Prayer

Prayer is first and foremost your weapon and should be your weapon of choice. We do not battle against flesh and blood according to Ephesians 6:12. It is not a battle you fight against your husband. It is a spiritual battle for your husband’s heart, your marriage, and your family.

You are fighting for him with your prayers.

Unlike some people, I cannot in clear conscience recommend that you go around rebuking Satan for the spiritual battle that wages unseen around you. If Michael the Archangel wouldn’t even rebuke Satan (Jude 1:9), what business do we humans who are a lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:7) have in rebuking him? That’s treading on some pretty thin ice.

So, pray that God would soften your husband’s heart, give him the strength to do the right thing, give him the wisdom to lead, and give you the wisdom and grace to follow.

2. Biblical rebuke

Your second weapon is a Biblical rebuke from you, a trusted friend, or the church. According to scripture, if your brother is in sin –and it doesn’t say that your husband is excluded from this– you can address that sin with him in gentleness and love.

I would recommend reserving this for habitual sins that are significantly impacting your life.

You are not supposed to do the Holy Spirit’s job, convicting you husband of every little sin. Pray for wisdom about how you handle this so that you won’t overstep.

Make sure it is actually a sin and not just something you think is a sin. If you and he disagree about whether or not it is a sin then this method will not work. He will not listen to you because he doesn’t agree with you. See this post about Christian Stewardship.

If you both agree that it is a sin —and he is in this sin habitually and unrepentantly– then you can follow the pattern in Matthew 18:15-17.

I have given this advice about Biblical rebuke before, but I thought it was important to mention that you probably wouldn’t use this for a small issue. I recommend getting the church involved when the issue is big enough that it has the potential to break up your marriage –otherwise, discuss it with him yourself and learn to trust your husband to God’s timing.

Getting other people involved in your personal life –in the intimate parts of your marriage– is not something to take lightly. If you can resolve it without getting people involved, that is even better. For more information on this, see this chart I made.

But, it also is a step that most people don’t take. They just move straight to separation and divorce, whereas, I believe many marriages could be salvaged if we followed the Bible’s instructions about correction.

No marriage is perfect.

I am sure he looks at you sometimes and thinks you weren’t quite what he bargained for either. (I know my husband does –I can be a handful.)

Don’t look at the speck in your husband’s eye and ignore the plank in your own: you also have sin that you need to deal with. (Matthew 7:3-5)

You are not better than he is: you are both just sinners saved by grace. For verses that might help your marriage, see this post.

3. Love him anyway.

Bear with me: this isn’t the same as doing nothing.

Loving each other even when the other person isn’t loving makes us a reflection of God’s love to those around us.

Especially when we aren’t perfect.

Especially when it is hard.

God loved us when we were yet sinners, right? He doesn’t ask more of us than what He already did.

You would not have to love sacrificially like Christ if your spouse was always completely and 100% likable and loveable.

By loving your husband like Christ, you become more like Christ.

It is in those moments when our husbands are unlovable and imperfect that we have the option to show the love of Christ to them and to the world around us. See more about that idea about how marriage is supposed to work in this post.

It is not easy, but scripture says that a wife’s conduct has the ability to bring even an unsaved husband to the Lord. See 1 Corinthians 7:16 and 1 Peter 3:1.

Imagine how much Christ’s love through us can do for our saved husbands!

If you are married, you have an imperfect husband.

This is a reality.

If you are saved you have Christ living in you Who gives you the power to love him anyway.

These three things –prayer, rebuke, and love– are tools we can use to build better marriages.

At the end of the day, may the Lord be glorified by our lives and our marriages.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

children, parenthood

I Burned the Babywise Book

Yes.

I actually did.

I burned the Babywise book.

15 years ago an adorable little boy was born with a full head of jet-black hair and deep-set dimples.

I wanted nothing more than to be a mom, and I was so happy to finally hold my baby.

But, something wasn’t right –or at least not normal– from the beginning.

If you’ve had a baby with special needs or who otherwise wasn’t “normal,” you probably noticed from early on.

He cried whenever I put him down –even as an infant. He was colicky, with constant tummy problems, and wanted to nurse nonstop.

He couldn’t sleep unless I was holding him.

So, I held him.

A lot.

Basically, all the time.

I even slept on the couch with him snuggled in my arms so his dad who was working swing shift at a lumber mill (which is some pretty intense manual labor) could get a good night’s sleep.

I was hardly sleeping. I couldn’t keep with house clean. I learned to cook and wash dishes with him in-arm.

Out of desperation, I drove almost two hours to get a baby sling to wear him –this was way before babywearing was even a thing here.

I was so worn out.

I tried everything I could find from those baby tablets that were supposed to help with sleep problems to something called Gripewater.

Nothing worked.

Around the time I thought I had tried everything, a friend gave me the book Babywise.

She swore by the book, and her 2-week-old baby was already on a schedule and sleeping regularly and predictably.

Well, goodness, if it works that well it’s worth a try, right?

So, I read the book and proceeded to try the advice given.

My son cried for hours.

Hours.

Not just cried: screamed.

I did what the book said, and it didn’t work.

I called my friend back and she said, “Oh, well, you just didn’t let him cry long enough.”

Really?

Well, I’m no quitter. On average, I’m the most stubborn person in the room.

So, we did it again.

He cried for over 4 hours one night. I sat outside his bedroom and sobbed.

I was 21 years old, this was my first baby, and I am the first to admit that I really had no idea what I was doing.

But, I knew deep in my soul that this was not right.

My 4-month-old deserved better than this.

This was bordering on child abuse.

Infants cry because their instincts tell them to cry in order to communicate that something’s wrong.

Not because they’re manipulative or disobedient.

I picked up my screaming baby, nursed him until he was calm, and put the book away.

I never used a single thing taught in the book again.

A few months later we moved to a lovely little wood-heated cottage on a long country lane. I was unpacking the books onto our bookshelf after the move and spotted the Babywise book.

“What a load of crap.” My then 22-year-old self grumbled to the empty room. “Way to make me feel like a complete loser: ‘You can’t even get your baby to sleep right.’”

I almost put it in the donate bag. My hand hovered —Babywise in hand– over the bag for a moment.

Do I really want to burden another mom with this trash hogwash advice?

Then, I jumped up and shoved it into the wood stove, slamming the heavy iron door behind it.

“That’s what you can do with your Babywise.”

I returned to my unpacking and soon heard my son stirring in his crib in the other room.

He did learn to sleep in his own bed.

Eventually.

In his own time.

He was six months old before he would sleep without me holding him.

That does not make me a failure.

It makes me the mother of a child who had unique needs that did not fit nicely into a formula.

not a failure babywise post


I am not a failure. I am the mother of a child who has unique needs that do not fit nicely into a formula. —Sarah Forbes


 

Today, he doesn’t have any sleep problems.

But he does have ADHD, a handful of learning disabilities, an anxiety disorder he inherited from his dad’s side of the family, and possibly some things we haven’t diagnosed yet.

Also, he has food sensitivities like I do. But, I wouldn’t learn about his sensitivities –or mine– until more than a decade later.

I am pretty sure the food sensitivities are what caused his ongoing upset tummy.

When he was ready, he started sleeping on his own.

No amount of pushing before he was ready helped.

This has been true his whole life.

I tried potty training him at age 2 when my friends were training their toddlers.

Completely and totally futile.

He potty trained when he was ready.

At age three and a half.

I feel like my whole motherhood with him has been learning to let go and let him be his own person.

On his own schedule.

My second born did most (but not all) things on schedule –or even early.

If I’d had him first, I’m sure that I would have thought all those moms with fussy babies were just doing it wrong.

I cringe when a neurotypical, healthy mom tells a mom who has health problems and special needs (or a family history of it) that if she just followed a schedule and did the Babywise thing her baby would sleep and be happy.

That’s not necessarily true.

For many of us of, it is not.

If Babywise worked for you, I’m happy for you.

More power to ya!

If not, it’s okay: you’re normal –most parents I talk to say it did not work for them.

If it didn’t help, feel completely free to burn the book.

I promise you won’t be the first.

By far.

And, your kid will still grow up to be fine without it.

He will grow up to be himself in his own time and in his own way.

Just like mine did.

Blessings,

Sarah


Because my children need to be able to develop at their own rate, I have chosen to homeschool and let them not only grow at their own rate but learn on their own schedule too. You can read more about that here:


There Is No Behind in Homeschool


So, You Want to Homeschool Your ADHD Child


The Challenging Child


The Testimony of a Strong Willed Child

 

faith, illness

8 Things That People Say That Make Me Not Want to Talk About My Miscarriages

Almost 3 weeks ago, I had a miscarriage.

Miscarriage number seven.

Seven babies that I’ll never meet.

Seven babies that I held in my heart, but I’ll never hold in my arms.

This time, I didn’t want to talk about it.

If you’ve read my blog you know I’m pretty open about the stuff I deal with –from icky health stuff to being a rebellious middle schooler.

I know that’s not healthy –it’s not good to hold all the sadness inside.

But this time –no matter how much my heart ached, I didn’t want to talk about it.

Why was this issue so much deeper of hurt? So much more tender? So much more raw?

I’m not entirely sure.

But what I do know is that people have said some pretty horrendous things to me in the past about my miscarriages.

Those unkindly spoken things have made me not want to talk about it –not even to my own friends and family.

I talked about the first two miscarriages pretty openly, but the in between ones, not so much because people would say ridiculously insensitive and offensive things like this:


 

1) “You are in sin for only having two kids.”

People judge me for only having two kids.

But here’s the thing:  I have nine children — nine!– I just don’t get to hold them all right now.

There’s a Big Family Club that I’ll never be a part of –through no fault of my own.

Simply because my children died.

I wanted a big family.

But, I’ve been treated like I am deficient for only having a small family.

In my heart, I have many children but in my home, I have very few.

Here’s the rub: I don’t think it would be wrong if we had decided to only have two kids. But, we didn’t choose this.

You never know someone’s life story. So how about we just stop judging things that are not clearly and absolutely stated in scripture?

It’s really low to tell someone who just lost a baby that they’re in sin for not having more live babies, but yes, I’ve been told that –as if somehow I controlled which babies lived and which ones died.


 

2) “God took your baby because He knew the baby would be bad.”

Some people think God took my baby because He knew it would be a bad person.

This is a really horrible thing to say to someone.

Is that supposed to make me feel better? Am I supposed to say: “Oh, good, well, if he was going to be a sinner than I’m glad he died”?

We are all sinners.

God’s love and grace are there for a reason.

We need it.

All of us.

I do think God has a reason for this happening that I can’t see, but I reject the notion that it was because my child would be a sinner.

Or less worthy of life.

Or whatever.


 

3) “Your baby went to hell.”

If you believe that babies who die do not go to heaven, please do not tell me: I do not want to know.

It just adds a second layer of guilt because then I’m sending my child to hell if I miscarry.

I have enough guilt and stress due to the fact that I can’t carry a baby to term.

I know that the Bible doesn’t have a lot to say about the death of a child, but I would rather choose to believe that my children are waiting for me in Heaven than to think that my inability to carry to term sent my children to Hell.

This turns my stomach.

It’s really heartless and cruel to say this to someone who just lost a baby.

If you believe this, I don’t want to talk to you about my miscarriage.


 

4) “It’s lack of faith that you stopped trying to have babies.”

The last time I miscarried was about 4 years ago, and after that, a friend sent me an article about a lady who had 20 miscarriages before she had one live birth.

The insinuation was that if I really had faith then I would keep trying to have babies –no matter how sick I was, no matter how many babies died, no matter how difficult the pregnancies, no matter what the fallout.

This idea is part of the Quiverfull movement which I’ve spoken out against — the idea that women are here to have babies and shouldn’t stop having them in any situation.

I think it was completely reasonable of my husband and me to decide –after losing six babies– that we were done.

Maybe someone else has the ability to go through loss after loss after loss and keep trying, but I have two living children and I need to –as much as possible– be here for them.

It’s not lack of faith.

It’s prudence.

It’s reasonable.

Maybe if you’re healthy, losing a baby might not be as big of a deal? (Someone told me that.) 

But if you’ve got over 20 medical diagnoses like me, that loss is incredibly difficult –especially healthwise since I get significantly sicker after each pregnancy.

I’m glad that the lady in the article kept trying and got her miracle baby. But, I already have two miracles, and I need to be well enough to actually be invested in their lives.

What’s the point of having them if you are unable to raise them in the Lord which actually is commanded? –as opposed to trying to have a specific number of children which is not commanded.


 

5) “Great, you miscarried; that means you can get pregnant. You should try again.”

They dismiss the pain of the loss and the health risks as if it’s nothing to worry about. I’m glad that for them that it’s nothing, but for me, it’s not nothing.

It’s serious and hard.

Besides, I don’t want another baby.

If I was going to have a baby, I wanted that baby –don’t treat it like it wasn’t a real person.

I don’t want another baby at all, honestly.

I’m not trying to have more, and this pregnancy was not intentional –unlike previous pregnancies that ended in miscarriages (I didn’t even know I could get pregnant anymore).

We’re done, and I’m okay with that.

It seems to be other people who have a problem with the fact that I only have two (alive) kids and don’t plan to have more.

Why are people so invested in the intimate lives of other people? Do they not have enough problems in their own lives? They have to worry about mine?

I don’t think I should have to tell people that I have lost seven babies to have them leave me alone about having more babies –I think it is none of their stinking business.


 

6) “You hate big families.”

I think the hardest thing about the miscarriages is that people have accused me of hating big families because I speak out about the false doctrine of the Quiverfull Movement.

They see that I only have two living babies and make asinine assumptions and accusations like that I hate anyone who has more than 4 kids.

But I have more than 4 kids!

I have nine children.

I don’t hate big families.

I have a big family.

Part of my family is in heaven.

They treat me like I’m against them –they have an us-versus-them mentality.

I am on the side of big families.

And –more importantly–I’m also on the side of accurate Bible interpretation.

I’m also on the side of small families.

Because the Bible doesn’t specify how big your family has to be.

I’m on the side of families.

Period.


 

7) “You should just adopt.”

People criticize me for not adopting, but these are the same people who know that my family has to take care of me because I’m so sick.

I think most of my friends and family don’t really understand how sick I am.

I don’t think anyone would allow me to adopt, but if they did, would it even be wise?

To bring a young child into my home that I physically can’t care for?  

That my 12-year-old and 15-year-old would end up raising?

And what if I die?

My children are old enough that they can mostly take care of themselves if I die.

The same is not true if we bring new little people into our home.

This doesn’t even begin to address the fact that we’d have to move to a larger house which I’m not able to do –moving is very hard and very stressful.

I applaud and appreciate the women I know who are involved in foster care and adoption.

They are ministers to a group of children who desperately need it.

But don’t accuse people who are too sick to be involved in your ministry of not caring or being in sin.

We feel enough guilt about the things we’re not able to do without your help to make us feel worse.


 

8) “You never even met the baby –it shouldn’t be this big of a deal.”

Some people have said that since it wasn’t a child that I lived with or held it then shouldn’t hurt.

But it does.

Believe me: it does.

Deeply.

Significantly.

Intensely.

And every day.

People who say these kinds of things seem to simply not understand.

Some of my miscarriages have been very early, and I didn’t even know I was pregnant until I miscarried.

For a long time, I didn’t let myself mourn because I told myself it shouldn’t be a big deal.

After seven miscarriages, I know that it is a big deal.

Every life matters –no matter how small or how brief.

I choose not to confide in people who treat life so flippantly as to say a miscarried baby doesn’t matter.


 

Another thing that bothers me isn’t something people say; it’s an attitude. 

An attitude of ingratitude toward God for the children He’s given them. 

Believe me: somewhere out there is women who would gladly endure your worst day just to hold a child or just to have her dead child back again. 

And, if you can’t understand that, I’m going to have a hard time talking to you about how painful these miscarriages have been. 

Do not, I beg you, take your children for granted. 

Just like when you lose a loved one, after a miscarriage you go through the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

For a long time I was in the denial stage because if I don’t talk about it, it’s not real, right? That was especially true of miscarriages 3 through 6.

This time, I think I’m somewhere between denial and anger.

But, I’m giving myself permission to hurt and grieve this time.  

I think that is helping.

I’ve burst into tears over stock photos of baby girls. I’ve spent hours up at night crying over the fact that I’ll never get to play dress up or tea party with my daughter or braid her hair.

For some reason, this miscarriage brought all the years of horrible experiences –all those intense emotions– bubbling to the surface.

All the heartache of broken dreams.

The empty arms just feel so much more empty.

I was too upset, too hurt to talk about it.

This time.

I’m not sure why.

It just is.

So, I cling to my Savior and to the knowledge that one day the canvas of time will be unrolled like a tapestry and the Great Redeemer will trace His fingers across the lines of time and eternity and explain every hurt, every heartache, every loss.

It will make sense, and we will see that His plan was wonderful, providential, and worth it.

He who catches my tears in a bottle knows how much I hurt.

For now, I hurt a lot.

But I trust Him no matter how much I hurt.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

If you liked this post, you might enjoy these as well:


I’m a Real Mom: Coming to Grips with Disabled Motherhood 


Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen to Good People?


Too Much Information: 10 Unexpected Symptoms of My Illness That It’s Taboo to Talk About 


“You Hate Big Families!” –A Discussion About How to Respond Biblically When Someone Disagrees with You


Does the Bible Command Us to Keep Having Babies? An Argument Against the Quiverfull Movement


charts, faith, marriage

What Does the Bible Say About Divorce and Separation? A Chart with References

More than once recently I have been asked: “What does the Bible say about divorce and separation?”  

The last time I was asked this, I’d just had dental work done, was still a little high on Novocaine, and was not altogether able to express myself well. This topic has been weighing heavily on my heart and mind because I know more than one lady facing this situation right now.

Charts always help me, so I made a chart hoping that it will help other women better understand their options. Marriage is hard –but it is especially hard if you have an unbelieving, backslidden, or abusive spouse. If you do not deal with these issues in your marriage, be thankful.

divorce and separation
Right click on image and open in a new tab to view it larger

 

Download the chart in PDF

About abuse:

Scripture never addresses this the topic of physical abuse, but the purpose of marriage is to bring glory to God. God is not glorified when sin and abuse are allowed in our midst. Nowhere is scripture does it say that we are expected to stay in a marriage where our lives are being threatened. Additionally, we have a responsibility to protect our children from violence. I believe that God will hold a mother accountable for violence done against her children if she could have prevented it and did not. A wise person gets away from danger.

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Proverbs 22:3

In Bible times, the law did not allow a wife to leave and divorce her husband, but our laws do. If you can get away from abuse without breaking the law, do it!

About unfaithfulness:

Jesus allowed divorce over unfaithfulness.

“He said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning, it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.’” Matthew 19:8-9

However, we know from the book of Hosea that God loves us even though we are unfaithful to him and calls us to love our spouses the same like Hosea loved his wife. That is how we are called to love and that is how we reflect God’s love to the world around us. That being said, Scripture does allow divorce for unfaithfulness, so this is a choice you will have to make for yourself. If you choose to not divorce but to try to reconcile, the love and grace required for that is indeed a reflection of God’s love.

“The Lord said to me, ‘Go. Show your love to your wife again. She is loved by another man. And she has committed adultery. But I want you to love her just as I love the people of Israel. They turn to other gods. And they love to offer raisin cakes to Baal and eat them. In spite of that, I love my people.'” Hosea 3:1

About separation:

The Bible is silent on the topic of separation. The absence of the topic in scripture does not mean that it is forbidden. It means that it is part of our Christian stewardship and that we are expected to act in wisdom.  Scripture does say that you shouldn’t deprive each other of intimacy, but that doesn’t specifically speak to separation if one person is an unbeliever –unless we stretch the verse which I won’t do. The command to not deprive each other was about believers as evidenced by the “devoting yourselves to prayer” part. That would obviously not be a priority for an unbelieving or backslidden spouse.

“Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:2-5

If you are married to an unbeliever or a backslidden Christian, separation may be necessary for your protection or sanity.

About sin:


Make sure you are familiar with Christian Stewardship (see the links at the bottom of this post) and what is actually sin and what is not. Also, remember that your husband’s sin is not about you; it is about his relationship with God and his own struggles. All men –all people for that matter– struggle with sin. Sin alone is not a basis for a divorce. If it were, then all of us would end up divorce. There will be sin in your marriage, but like with any Christian brother, you are allowed to discuss it with him in hopes that he will change. There is a pattern put forth in scripture about how to address sin in believers.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17 

Many men seem to forget that they are specifically commanded in Scripture to not be harsh and to be loving.

“Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:19

Unloving and harsh is a common treatment of wives –even in Christian marriages, and I think wives should lovingly but firmly call their husbands on their sin. The command in scripture to correct a brother was not only given to men; you are not off the hook just because the man is your husband. In fact, who knows your husband better than you do?

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

When in doubt, pray for him. Remember, God is not glorified by sin, and He never ever wants us to follow our husbands into sin.  

About marriage to an unbeliever:

When you are married to someone who is an unbeliever and that person is being hostile or has asked you to leave, sometimes separation is the only way to go. I believe that separation should be made with the intent to try to get back together. I mean if you made vows before God –even if the situation is not ideal– you should at least try to make it work, right? Because, well, you made vows before God. That’s not something to take lightly. But, if the unbelieving husband is uninterested in getting back together, scripture is clear that you are able to move on and get remarried.

“To the married, I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. To the rest, I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases, the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” 1 Corinthians 7:10-16.

About Christian stewardship:

Many times, husbands and wives disagree about what is right and what is wrong. Unless you as the wife can clearly cite chapter and verse in the New Testament that says that what your husband is doing is wrong, then you do not have a good defense of your position –what he is doing is not unbiblical– and you need to submit in this area. This sort of dispute is never a good reason for a separation or a divorce. There are many things which are not clearly lined out in scripture. These are part of our freedom in Christ –your Christian stewardship. When you are in doubt about what is the best choice, you need to make prayerful decisions. If everything was clearly written as black and white then God would have never told us to pray for wisdom.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

I know of more than one marriage that ended because the wife would not listen to reason and give up her false beliefs about scripture, about things she erroneously believed were sins –like not having more babies or not wearing skirts. God is not honored by our marriages when we twist the Bible and use it to destroy our marriages. May we be good workmen, studying the Bible so that we will not be ashamed.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy these posts:


The Wide Gray Line: Christian Stewardship and Why It’s So Important


Stewardship: Understanding Christian Freedom


Does the Bible Command Us to Keep Having Babies? An Argument Against the Quiverfull Movement


When You Don’t See Eye to Eye: a series on Biblical Submission


Debunking False Teachings About Submission


The Myth of the Perfect Husband


• Respectfully Disagreeing: Interacting with Your Husband When You Don’t See Eye to Eye


ADHD, getting started homeschooling, homeschooling

Are You or Your Child a Highly-Sensitive Person?

When I met my husband, I felt like he really got me, like he really understood me. It wasn’t until many years later that I found that this wasn’t simply because we had compatible Meiers-Briggs personality types –although I am sure that helps. It’s also because we both are hypersensitive. It wasn’t until this last year that a friend introduced me to HSP: Highly-Sensitive Personality.

It is not a disorder. It is just a different way our brains work. It explains so much, particularly about why we seem to feel things and experience things so much more deeply and intensely.

Apparently, it is more common for those who are introverted or those with ADHD to have this type of personality. It may explain why some of us are more prone to being bullied and abused by others who are not highly-sensitive and seem to view it as a weakness to be prayed upon.

So, if you or your child are prone to overreact or get upset easily, perhaps this description fits you. You can take a test to see if you ar a HSP here.

Click the link below to read the whole article. It is worth your time especially if you are trying to live with or homeschool a child who has HSP.

Studies estimate that 15-20 percent of the population is highly sensitive. However, many people don’t know what this means. Although it’s related to introversion, being a highly sensitive person is not the same thing. Highly sensitive people are hypersensitive to a variety of stimuli, ranging from pain to caffeine consumption. Consequently, highly sensitive people exhibit several specific, observable behaviors. 

While many people warn against the dangers of being a highly sensitive person—like an increased risk of depression and anxiety—being sensitive isn’t all bad. Highly sensitive people are more conscientious. They notice certain details others may overlook, and they can be very creative.

Being a highly sensitive person doesn’t mean you have a disorder that needs to be fixed. It simply means that you process sensory data more deeply. Recognizing that you’re a highly sensitive person could help you develop a better awareness of yourself and your needs.

I hope this is helpful.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

faith, myths

 The Stumbling Block Modesty Myth

I have not been shy about my criticism of the modesty culture or of the movement’s misuse of scripture to back up its position.

I recently stumbled upon an excellent article that outlines the misuse of scripture and how those verses that they misuse should be applied to our lives.

Accurate Bible application to our lives is very very important!

Here are a few quotes from the blog post which I hope you will take the time to read. There are so many myths wrapped up on our American Christianity –things that are so commonly believed but not biblical.

This issue of modesty –or at least the way that scripture is applied to this topic– just another one of those myths.

Follow that argument logically, and what you have is this:

Some people, even if they love God with their heart, soul, mind, and strength, will cause people to sin simply because of who they are and how they were made.

Even if they do nothing, they are a stumbling block that may cause someone to sin.

Yet what does God say about stumbling blocks in this passage?

That it would be better for them to have a millstone tied around their neck and be thrown into the sea.

Is that what we really believe? That a woman, through no fault of her own other than simply existing, would be better off if she were thrown into the sea because of the effect she has on the men around her?…

These passages appear to be saying that it is wrong for women to deliberately dress in order to entice men to lust, both because that can weaken their faith and can cause him to sin. However, the passages also say that it is wrong to shame women about their bodies. In addition, Scripture clearly says that women are not to blame if a man actually does lust, and that if a man lusts just because of the way a woman looks, when she is not deliberately trying to get him to do anything, then that is entirely on him.

Saying definitively, then, that women bear the responsibility for men’s consciences because of the “do not cause a brother to stumble” just doesn’t hold up biblically.

I hope you will prayerfully consider what is presented and not just believe what is commonly believed among Christians.

The Bible is the final authority in our lives, not the opinions of mere men.

Here are a few other posts about this same topic:

Modesty Misunderstood 

The Modesty Myth

 

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes